Summary: Our commitment to prayer will define the church.
The Cinderella of the church today is the prayer meeting. This handmaid of the Lord is unloved and unwooed because she is not dripping with the pearls of intellectualism, nor glamorous with the silks of philosophy; neither is she enchanting with the tiara of psychology. She wears the homespuns of sincerity and humility and so is not afraid to kneel!
The Day Jesus Got Mad
1. PRAYER IS AT THE HEART OF JESUS
The Court of the Gentiles – a walled, marble-paved area adjacent to the south side of the Temple the length of three football fields and around 250 yards wide.
Josephus, a Jewish historian says that during Passover A.D. 65, 255,600 lambs were offered. Each lamb that was sacrifice was offered by no less than 10 people making the population of the Passover celebrants close to 2,600,000 people.
It was at this Temple, the part of the temple called The Royal Porch, which sat on the site of Solomon’s original temple, that King Solomon prayed his prayer of dedication and the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. It was here that the priests could not enter, and all Israel Knelt on the pavement outside as they saw the fire of glory descend on the Temple. This site had been holy ground ever since - for thousands of years!
2 Chronicles 7:1-3 - When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshipped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying,
“He is good;
His love endures forever.”
It was at this site, 750 years earlier, that Isaiah was caught up in a vision of the sovereign Lord majestically enthroned above him with the train of His robe filling the Temple. It was here that above the Lord, burning seraphim hovered beating the air with one set of wings while covering their faces and feet with the other wings in humble recognition that they were in perfect holiness. As Isaiah watched, he heard them chant to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:1-3).
While the seraphs were chanting, Isaiah tells us that the foundations of the Temple shook as the temple was filled with the smoke of God’s presence.
At the time of Solomon’s prayer, at the time of Isaiah’s vision and every time the glory of the Lord filled the temple Jesus was there! He was there as God. Now here he is as man and what does he find on this holy place? A monstrous desecration of the temple!
It’s no wonder that He was angry. The violence of His clearing the Temple was so great the John tells us that the disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
It is with that same zeal that Jesus views the Temple today. Only now He is not looking at the Temple in Jerusalem, He is looking at the Church.
1 Corinthians 3:16 - Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
Matthew 18:20 - For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
Why did zeal for the temple consume Jesus?
A. God’s Glory dwelt there.
John 17:20-23 - “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me.
B. It Was Holy Ground
1 Peter 2:9 - But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
We have a mandate from our savior to be a people of prayer.
His zeal for prayer in God’s house is not just a zeal for worship. He has a zeal for prayer in our lives individually and corporately because of what He knows that prayer accomplishes.
We can have the biggest building, the hottest music, the best programs, awesome preaching, great children’s programs and a cappuccino bar! And our church will grow! But without a people devoted to prayer, it will all be worthless!