Gospel of Mark | A House of Prayer | Mark 11.15-17 | movementministriesblog.com

by | May 1, 2024

“On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’[c]? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’[d]” Mark 11.15-17

Jesus has already walked into the city, returned to Bethany, and now is entering the temple court. Some versions of the Gospel depict Jesus doing this all in one event, but in this case, it appears as if he comes in, looks around, and then returns to wreak a little havoc!

Why was Jesus so upset? He was overturning the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves (v.15). The text says he would “not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.” How long did he keep this up? Enough time for people to notice? To make his point? Jesus was upset for one reason—people had converted the Temple for profit rather than prayer. It had become a business for people, and God seemed to be forgotten by many in that place. Even though the sacrifice of animals was central to that worship, people had taken it too far. It looked like a market and not a house of worship. It was a house of worship, and Jesus made this distinction—for all nations.

Not only for the Jews from Jerusalem, but Jews from the nations as well as Gentiles. But people turned it into a “den of robbers.” I like it when Jesus gets a little testy (with other people, not with me!). I imagine what the disciples were thinking when Jesus began to go on this crusade—throwing tables and benches over, driving out people who were buying and selling. I can tell you one thing, he got their attention and he got ours also.

Our churches must also be places of prayer and not profit. We should look at our churches, our sanctuaries, and worship centers as places that point people to God, not for ill-gotten gains. And yet, the change must begin with us individually. It must begin with me, in my heart, where I give my love and adoration to God.

I must not become too busy that I sacrifice a life of devotion for doing good. My heart must be attuned to the rhythm of his Spirit rather than the grip of greed. Turn your heart to Jesus. Focus your eyes upon him. Worship him and his name. Allow his Spirit to flow through you for Jesus’ sake.

“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for your kindness and patience as we run to the well of grace and love. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill us with your power. Help me walk each step in alignment with you. I praise your name and thank you for salvation. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen”