Summary: Jesus makes it plain. We have a duty to keep. We must give account to him for how we worship and serve in his kingdom.
Just in case you haven’t noticed we are adding on to our building here. The block for the north and east walls are nearly all the way up now. Lord willing, this next Friday, the first floor will be poured and sealed. And, on June 8th, which is in just three weeks, (weather permitting) we will have a scripture writing celebration immediately following our morning worship services. All of us can write our favorite verses of scripture on the floor of that new building. Our historian team will get some pictures of us doing it, and even though it will be covered over later, may it serve as a reminder, that we are to be a church founded on the Word of God. And may our feet never to stray from the path of the word that God has spoken to us.
So, mark your calendars for June 8th and be looking through your Bibles for appropriate scriptures to write. Also, for all of our older members who may not wish to get down on the floor and write, we are all invited to write out our passages of scripture on paper and turn them in by next week. These verses will be sealed in a container and placed somewhere near the foundation before the concrete floor is poured.
Remember, this building is paid for by offerings from every member of this church. It is dedicated to the Lord for the purposes of building up the kingdom of God in the lives of all who come here and for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to all God allows us to reach and teach. Psalm 127 says: Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchmen keep watch in vain. More on that later, but now let’s turn to Luke’s gospel and look at Jesus as he enters what he calls, “My Father’s house.”
Here in Luke 20 Jesus tells a parable that directly applies to us as we will see.
At this point in Luke’s gospel, Jesus has entered the last week of his ministry before being crucified. Here in Jerusalem he knows exactly what is coming and why he has come. He speaks strong warnings, indictments and judgments against the religious leaders there because of their corruption and unfaithfulness. In chapter 19:41f, Jesus weeps over the city, because he knows what will happen to them. Construction for this temple has gone on for almost 50 years. It is magnificent. By the looks of it, you would think it would be standing for thousands of years. But Jesus says not one stone will be left on another.
When Jesus comes to Jerusalem here, he sees what they’ve done. He sees that they have turned the temple into a market place. The name of His Father is dishonored by all this. Jesus’ heart burns with zeal and he is furious! Have you ever had someone say something nasty about your mother? What kind of reaction does that stir in you? Well, Jesus heart was stirred by this insult to His Father, our God. He immediately took action to reclaim the honor for his Father’s name. Mark’s gospel gives a fuller account of this in chapter 11:15-19. Jesus boldly begins a priestly work. He cleanses the temple saying: “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations. But you have made it a den of thieves.” Think about how this must have looked! Imagine the disturbance and confusion.
The chief priests, scribes and elders have long since accepted this sacrilege. They who were given charge of bringing honor and praise to God have failed. They have let encroachments of the world surround and enter the temple of God. In fact, they have not only allowed this dishonor of God to occur, they have set themselves up as the police to maintain it! They are so used to the garbage around them they are surprised at Jesus for clearing it out! So, what do they do when Jesus cleanses out this mess? They turn on Him! You can hear it in their questions and attempts to trap Jesus. “By what authority do you do this and who gave you this authority?” Do they care? The truth is they have no authority to allow what they have allowed to happen! But Jesus, the Son of God, actually has all authority to do what he did. He is merely doing what they themselves should have done. This same blindness that allows them to accept the garbage and dishonor of God prevents them from seeing who Jesus is. They don’t realize that the King of kings has come to visit. They can’t see that the One the temple represents is here! Standing in their midst!