Holy and Right Worship of the Lord, a Bible Study Media Devotional
“The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’”
- John 2:13-17
The Jewish people were in full preparation for the celebration of the Passover. People from all over would travel to Jerusalem for this holy day. For those who traveled great distances, it was much more difficult to bring their offerings along with them; therefore, merchants would set up shops in the outer courts of the temple. Unfortunately, this market was not always done with purity of heart. Merchants would overcharge for these animals, and many of the animals would have defects that were not allowed in the sacrificial offerings. In other words, they took advantage of the people’s need and used it as an opportunity to make a nice profit. Even places of worship can become places of commerce.
A new side of Jesus emerges in this narrative. Instead of the meek, compassionate Jesus, we encounter his holy anger. For the nation of Israel, the temple was the dwelling place of God. It was a place to offer sacrifices on behalf of the sins of the people and to worship God. As Jesus walked into the outer courts, he saw a holy place defiled by the greed of man. Righteous anger consumed Jesus as he drove out the money-changers and all their animals.
While Jesus was patient and kind, Jesus was also passionate for the Lord. He modelled what it meant to love the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind. Jesus was fully devoted to his Father, and he perfectly demonstrated his devotion. Where this anger of Jesus may shock us as it surely shocked the people of his day, we are called to examine our approach to worship. Do we waltz into church on Sundays with an agenda to impress our brothers and sisters, to make business connections, or to simply be taught and engaged?
Worship is not about what we receive; worship is about offering our hearts, minds, and spirits to the Lord. It is a time to forget about ourselves and to seek the Lord, to listen to his words spoken through the reading of Scripture, to receive his teaching through the sermon, to make our offering through the tithe, and to receive the fullness of his grace through communion. Worship is not about us; worship is all about the Lord.
Imagine Jesus walking into your church on Sunday. What would he say to you personally about your heart towards worship? This season of Lent is a time to move out of our normal practices of faith to see if God has something more, something greater in mind for us. Worship is about meeting with a holy God, allowing him to search us and know us, then to lead us into examination through grace.
May we turn from any unholy practices in our places of worship or in our posture of worship so that we can surrender ourselves to the Lord. Reflection:
How would the Lord like to challenge you in the way you worship?
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