Monday, 7th Week after Pentecost

Text: Matthew 21:12-17

Prayer Pointers:

To allow the Lord to shape your life

For freedom from shame, indifference or pride

For those seeking healing

THE STORY OF JESUS CLEANSING the Temple appears in all four Gospels, although John positions it early in his account. Under Matthew’s pen, this event is not simply an “attack” on the religious authorities of the day, but it becomes a refocusing of what it means to worship God.

The first is that we must recognize that Matthew (along with Mark) ejects both buyers and sellers in his upending of the booths and tables. Far from it being a blow in support of “the poor,” Matthew sees Jesus’ action as condemning all who use their religious life as a cover or excuse for sinful behavior. In much the same way as he roundly criticized interpretations of Sabbath-keeping that would prevent people from being healed, Jesus condemns the narcissism that would bring self-serving activities right into the presence of God and assume God’s blessing. God should be happy that I’m here at all is a dangerous game.

This is reinforced by Jesus healing the blind and lame within the precinct of the Temple. The rabbinical religious guidance to such persons was that their participation in Temple life was optional, not obligatory, due to their infirmity. By his action of healing, Jesus demonstrates that being in God’s presence is salutary for all, and that there is no reason for anyone to use their life situation as an excuse for avoiding God, as if God cannot handle or bear what a person might bring forward. I’ll start up with God again once I get myself together is a terrible burden.

The third is the voices of the children that cry “hosanna!” The scribes and Temple officials are scandalized, but Jesus accepts the acclaim. This moment sharpens what Jesus is doing: it is not the Temple, but the Lord of the Temple, that is the point of our religious devotion. It is not the building, but the Lord with his people that is the true source of our life.

So, what is worship? It is to be in the Lord’s presence among his people, recognizing that we come not in strength but in need, and ready for God to challenge and change us.

May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks


Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

824 N. Buchanan Blvd. 

Durham, NC 27701

Miss Mollie's School of Grace Preschool

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824 North Buchanan Blvd, Durham, NC 27701 | 919-682-6030  |

Mission Statement: We are called to Welcome Everyone to Walk the Way of GRACE, and walk in that way in our individual lives, in our shared life in our various communities, in our common life with our neighbors, and even to the world at large as God sends us. The Way of Grace is to: GROW with Jesus, REJOICE in God, ANSWER with hope, CARE for the neighbor, and EMBRACE community.

Vision Statement: God has a plan FOR OUR LIVES, and so we teach how to walk in the path of Jesus Christ; FOR OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, and so we work to build healthy and strong communities; FOR OUR CITY, and so we share life with our neighbors in Walltown, Trinity Park, Duke, and the Triangle; and FOR OUR WORLD, and so we go with Good News.

Core Values: Because God loves us first, we value worship rooted in Scripture and Sacraments, service to all people, and being a welcoming community that loves and forgives one another.