When Jesus was in Jerusalem this week, it’s clear He was unhappy with what He saw in the Temple. This was God’s House, but He was not pleased with what it had become. The temple had evolved into a commercial enterprise with rules that restricted access to only certain people. In other words, it was there to make money and to reinforce exclusivity. After overturning many of the tables of the merchants and moneychangers, Jesus said, “My house shall be a house of prayer for allnations” (emphasis added). Jesus made this statement while standing near a short wall that displayed a threatening sign to those who were not Israelites. Foreigners who tried to pass the wall would be killed, and Temple police were armed and ready to enforce this rule. For Jesus to pronounce His house (the Temple) as a house of prayer for all nations is a remarkable statement.
When Jesus said “all nations” this meant other national or ethnic groups, other people not ordinarily welcomed in religious places. Jesus did not miss an opportunity to include those who were usually excluded. This means many of us who feel unworthy or excluded should be welcomed and discover hospitality when we meet God’s people. You should feel welcome regardless of your background or history. And we should extend that welcome to others, no matter their “nation.”
How can I extend a welcome to others who have found little welcome in life?
Read aloud Mark 11:15-33
Share with your children that this area of the temple was the place non — Jews could come to pray, but it had become a dirty, noisy, unworshipful place. Together, decorate a worshipful space in your home for Easter Week. Include a Bible, candles, and an area to display the items you’ll use this week, the Palm Branch mobile. Light the candles or turn on the special lights only during devotions to keep it special and meaningful.
Older Children/Teenagers: Think about what would be today’s equivalent of the money changers in the temple? What are the things that take away from the church being ‘a house of prayer?’ Discuss how you think Jesus might respond to those things if he were here today. Do you have the same desire to keep God’s house as ‘a house of prayer?’
Worship: Better is One Day, by Matt Redman (Please feel free to do what best fits your family)
Prayer: This is a great and easy format to follow as a family: A-C-T-S
A-Adoration: What things did you learn about God today? Praise God for those things.
C-Confession: Confess your sins to each other and God; it is helpful if a parent takes the lead in this activity.
T-Thanksgiving: Thank God for what He has done in your lives this week and that He wants to be our foundation!
S-Supplication: God loves us and loves to bless us. Tell God the desires of your heart.