Faith Daily | 19 November 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST
whose sovereign purpose none can make void:
give us faith to be steadfast amid the tumults of this world,
knowing that your kingdom shall come,
and your will be done,
to your eternal glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 19: 45-48
45Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; 46and he said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.” 47Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; 48but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Rev’d Jonathan
Luke’s account of Jesus ‘cleansing’ the temple is much less detailed than the versions we hear in Mark (11:15-19) and Matthew (21:12-13). Despite presumably creating an uproar by driving out the temple traders, Jesus is allowed back in – in fact, he returns every day. This raises some interesting questions.
As you might expect, the minimal amount of detail here has not stopped biblical scholars from speculating on what Jesus actually intended to do when he carried out his dramatic ‘cleansing’. For example, he may have been seeking to stop the specific practice of animal sacrifice; or he may have been protesting against the markets preventing Gentile worship in the outer part of the temple. Alternatively, he may have been seeking to fulfil prophecies by reminding people of the righteous anger of the Lord in Isaiah 59 or the prophetic removal of traders in Zechariah 14; or perhaps he intended to symbolically foreshadow the destruction of the temple which was to come. These are just a few of the many interpretations which have been suggested.
If Jesus had really caused a lot of damage, we might expect to see him being arrested or barred from entry. Instead, the consensus seems to be that Jesus was performing more of a symbolic protest against the commercial activity in the temple and the corruption of those who allowed it. In Luke’s Gospel, the temple itself is not the problem and so we see Jesus basing himself there for teaching purposes for quite some time following.
To those readers who may be concerned that Jesus shows ‘sinful’ anger and violence in this passage, Luke assures us that it is all very symbolic, quite unlike the real violence which will soon be enacted upon Jesus by those who choose not to be ‘spellbound’ by the greatest teacher of them all.
FINAL PRAYER: (India: Litany of the Disciples of Christ the Servant)
Help us to follow you into the temple
Of your chosen people,
To erase from the worship of your church
All that hinders the sense of your presence,
And the free flow of your Word;
To open up your house
That it may be a house of prayer for all people.
Help us to follow you.