Holy Week, Monday, Is Your Heart a House of Prayer?

Bible Commentaries give two specific events that Jesus was involved in on Monday before His crucifixion, in what is now known as Holy Week.  Jesus entered the city humbly and triumphantly on Sunday and then cleansed the temple area of money changers and withered a fig tree.  Both actions seem harsh, but they give a picture of the worldly opposition to God’s kingdom.  From both we get a glimpse of divine justice.  You can read the accounts in Matthew 21 and Mark 11.

Jerusalem at Passover was a bustling city with many thousands of pilgrims arriving to make offerings at the temple.  They needed to purchase animals for sacrifice and change money so they could pay the yearly temple tax.  The exchanges were all being conducted in the outer court of the Gentiles.  Here is Matthew’s account from 21:12-14.

12-14 Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants. He quoted this text:

My house was designated a house of prayer;
You have made it a hangout for thieves.

Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.  (Message)

Jesus was then, is now, and will be in eternity the Righteous Judge.  He saw the true motives of the people desiring to make money exorbitantly and uprooted and cast them out literally.  He placed a priority on prayer and worship when coming to God’s house.  He got right to the work of His ministry, healing and allowing access to God for everyone.

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As we near the cross, take heart from this short snippet in Jesus’ last week. Know that He came to save and set right relationships and motives towards God.  What attitudes do you need adjusted by Jesus today?  Do you attend church to make ‘connections’ with people for business or do you come to pray and reflect on your walk with Jesus?  Looking at the heart is what Jesus did then, and does now in our lives through the Holy Spirit.  Let Him cleanse your heart today and put you on the right pathway with right motives.  May our hearts be right with God today as suggested in this quote by Charles Wesley “Make My Heart a House of Prayer”.  

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, God is accessible to me through prayer and I can trust in His righteousness. I can claim the truths of Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Thank you Jesus for making yourself accessible through prayer, your unsurpassed peace for my heart, and for your redemptive sacrifice.

Linda

Anna, one who sees what Jesus will do

Mary and Joseph had just encountered Simeon and now they faced an old woman who was known as a prophetess.  There are a few women who speak for God under His guidance in the Bible.  Deborah (Judges 4:4) and  Aaron’s sister Miriam (Exodus 15:20) are the most well known.  Anna was known for her devotion to the Lord and constancy in prayer and worship.

anna“There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.  She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.  Going up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”  Luke 2:36-38

Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there that day and heard what she said about Jesus and what He would accomplish?  Her focus was on the redemption of Jerusalem, meaning the Jewish people.  She knew that God was just and that He would redeem and rescue her people with this child  just as He had promised.

justHow is God just?  God’s justice is perfect.  His decisions are always based on His righteous character.  God cannot ignore sin because He is holy.  It would be unjust to ignore wickedness, rebellion and sin. God is just and does not show favoritism.  Every penalty will be fair and right.  God does not treat His children as their sins deserve because Jesus suffered the full punishment for our sins.  Because God is just and merciful, He will never punish His children for the sins for which Jesus paid on the cross.  Anna could see this sacrifice in Jesus’ future that day and knew He was the key to the redemption of all God’s people.

justice__a_cross__by_540_edalbHow are you and I affected by God’s justice?  We can count on God to always be Holy and intolerant of sin.  We can trust that His justice is and has always been perfect as He is unchanging in character and does not show favorites.  God is true to His Word and will do as He promised in Scripture.  He will be victorious over Satan and Jesus will return again.  We have proof of God’s justice.  He dealt with our sin through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus.  Now that our sin has been dealt with, it is over and God’s justice is done!  Praise Him for His Justice and keep pointing others to Jesus.  Live focused on things with eternal value that glorify God.  Cling to God’s promises prayer for justice and mercyin Scripture and pray for those that do not know Jesus as Savior.  Do not judge others but leave justice to God. Trust in God’s justice and mercy it is and always will be perfect and always enough.

Linda