Good morning, everyone. It is now the Monday of Holy Week. I thought I would spend some time looking at the various events of this week as they unfolded in the life of Jesus. Most theologians believe that it was on Holy Monday when Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple. Jesus said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” (Mark 11:17)
“‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 7:9-11)
Beware of the den of robbers. There are plenty of dangerous places lining dark streets, vacant lots and yes, even religious landscapes. As you read Jeremiah’s words, aimed at the religious leaders, he recognized all their activity was covering up hearts which were far from God. The prophet was clear that outward appearances didn’t nullify the corruption going on within them. They indeed needed cleansing.
Fast forward from the days of Jeremiah to the days of Jesus and the same can still be said. Jesus is not only saying it, but delivering this message in word and action to expose this den of robbers for what they are. They had turned a place devoted to seeking God into a marketplace with all the chaos, noise and smells which accompany it. And so Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
We too need hearts to be cleansed and self-made shrines overturned, so that we can truly encounter this same Jesus, who desires to forgive us our sins and give us a transformed heart and mind. Will you think on these things. Amen.
Pastor Bryan E. Drebes
Pastor Drebes attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, beginning in 1997. He spent the summer of 1999 teaching English to Chinese middle school teachers in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. He served a four-month vicarage at St. John Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Wisconsin, followed by eight months at Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas. Pastor Drebes was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Palmyra, Missouri on August 19, 2001, and installed as Associate Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas on September 9, 2001. He served Bethany for 14 years. Pastor Drebes accepted a Divine