Lent Week 1 – Jesus Cleanses the Temple – Anthony Castle

Welcome to the first week of Lent. Please take some time to listen to Anthony’s message…

Lent Devotional Week One – Jesus Cleanses the Temple

When Jesus cleans the temple in Matthew 21:12&13, He declares “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”  This is a direct reference to the words of Jeremiah in Chapter 7 verses 1 -11 in which it says:

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message:

“‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your waysand your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.

“‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching!declares the Lord.

Anthony shares that by referencing the prophesy of Jeremiah, Jesus in cleansing the temple is protesting the injustice seen in the temple just as we read in Jeremiah’s prophecy.  It is at this point that the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke record that the religious leaders began to plan to kill him.  It is his protest which becomes the turning point in the life of Jesus that leads to his eventual death.

Jesus’ death paid for our sins but it also paid the price for protest. 

In our journey to become more like Jesus this means we need to understand that…

  • Living like Jesus is living a life which protests against a power structure that makes profit from religion and poor
  • Living like Jesus protests a religion that excludes the poor
  • Living like Jesus protests a religion that opposes another culture more than it opposes injustice.

Our lives too must become lives of protest.

Q – In what instances do you see exploitation and exclusion of the poor?

Q- How can you become a voice of protest?