Lent | Holy Week: Day

The temple


Today's Text: Isaiah 56:7-8, Jeremiah 7:8-11, Matthew 21:10-17, Luke 19:45-48

Text: Isaiah 56:7-8, Jeremiah 7:8-11, Matthew 21:10-17, Luke 19:45-48

Who is this man riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, the one hailed by the crowd as the Son of David? The whole city, the scripture says, is abuzz with the question. You can imagine their surprise when Jesus heads straight for the temple, establishing His authority by driving the sellers out, overturning their tables and tossing money to the temple floor. Talk about causing a stir!

Jesus said to them, “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers.” (Matthew 21:13b, ESV) Each scriptural account of the story quotes Jesus as making this distinction. A house: a place of rest and restoration and communion. A den: a place of darkness and confinement. But only Matthew tells us what happens next.

After Jesus tosses out those who would pervert the temple of God into a temple of wealth and greed and convenience, He does something revolutionary: He invites the Least inside.

The blind, the lame, the children all come in and Jesus welcomes them, heals them, confirms their place among Him. He cleared out those who profaned the temple and ushered in those who humbly sought after God.

Will you enter into the narrative with me?

When I picture the scene I can see myself in the wings, on the outside looking in. I am nervous, I am afraid, but I am drawn to this house of God and so I watch and wait.

Those inside seem to have it together, bringing riches rather than sacrifice, doing religion like a business. All I have is this humble offering in my hands, carried the long journey from my home, over rocky roads and mistake-laden miles.

Then I see Him. And right before my eyes I watch Him turn it on its side, all the pretension and injustice and darkness that kept me at bay. He sends out those who’ve come not for God but for gods. And then? He looks me in the eye. Me. Lame, frightened, filthy from days of travel, He looks at me and sees me. He motions for me to come in and then He tells me I belong.

Oh, Sisters, this is our Christ. He welcomes in the defenseless and He becomes their defense. He brings the weak to Himself and makes them strong. He desires not the shiny sacrifices our pride wishes to bring, but only a heart that is stayed on Him.

We cannot purchase Him, for He has purchased us.


  • naivesweater

    Father, forgive me for making myself, Your holy temple, into a den of robbers. I need you. Transform me with your love… humble me, I don't have anything together and I've done horrible things to you… bring me in, welcome me in, not at all because of myself– for I deserve to forever be cast out– but bring me in because of Yourself and for Your glory alone, so that all may see that YOU are GOD. Thank you for doing this, Lord Jesus. Praise you. Amen.

    • Brendasan01

      AnnaLee, none of us have it all together that's why we need our Lord and Savior. He is there to pick us up and love on us if we let Him. I know it's difficult at times, but we need to trust Him fully. And please know that your sisters are here for you too……praying for you and standing with you. Love you my sister in Christ!

  • Abbygyll

    “He welcomes in the defenseless and He becomes their defense. He brings the weak to Himself and makes them strong. He desires not the shiny sacrifices our pride wishes to bring, but only a heart that is stayed on Him.”

    I love this so much!

    *tears to my eyes! Very beautiful!

    He wants nothing but my heart.
    He owns the Universe but He still wants my heart.

  • LaurenC_

    The verses from Jeremiah really spoke to me tonight, because I see myself in the description of those chasing after other gods – false gods – placing too much worth in things around me & joining in that den of robbers; then rushing back to the one true God shouting out “I’m back! Save me! Praise God!” This is who I used to be and all to often can still become. The Good News is that, although I know I can displease Him, our Lord greets me with a smile just the same. A direct, loving gaze. A warm hug. Grace, mercy, and wisdom. How great a God we have to not only welcome foolish, weak sinners like me but to seek me out in that rowdy crowd and in those ashamed, meek bystanders looking in from the outside. Thank you, gracious Lord. Your mercy saves me and redeems me. Thank you.

    • Elena

      I completely agree with you and I'm glad to know I'm not alone in the struggle!! How easy it is to fall into the trap of chasing other things! For me it's my job–I don't want my job to be first! Praying to keep my eyes and heart on Him!

    • AnnaLee

      I'll be praying for both of you, that the Lord's abounding Love would cause you to more and more surrender your lives to Him in all things! I too struggle with it– most of the time it's me wanting to whiteknuckle a situation or to know exactly what's going on in my life and what's down the road (my own "plans" and the trust I put in them to make me feel safe is DEFINITELY a huge idol, as is being a stickler for the rules like a pharisee instead of trusting the Lord in places outside of my comfort zone). Praying that all of us would TRUST and SEEK the face of God, the Arms of Jesus, instead of anything else! Be so blessed, sisters.

  • teawithsb

    Such a beautiful passage and portrayal of our Savior.

    I wanted to send out a praise for answered prayer. Since I started with this devotional, I continually feel the tugging of the Holy Spirit on my heart to begin attending church again. Alone if need be. (Side note we work night, so going to church after long hours at work without falling asleep can be difficult.). I never wanted to go without my husband because I could see myself becoming resentful and argumentative about that area in our marriage. However, our Savior kept his call on my heart. So I finally answered yes to His call, come what may, and trust that He would keep my heart open and loving towards my husband who would not participate. When I finally told my husband my need and call to go to church again, The Lord helped me with the words. Thankfully (Praise God!) my husband heard me, and completely understood, but DID NOT WANT ME TO GO ALONE! He asked if we could go to church together twice a month at least and then watch it at home the rest of the time. I agreed thinking it would not stand and we would fall back into our old habits. This Sunday he handed me the remote without preamble, me asking, nagging, or reminding. :) I'm not saying the road ahead will not produce challenges for us to participate, but God has answered my prayer in the hubby hearing me and wanting to join me in going to church. This Easter we are going to enter church doors, the first time in about 5 years when we will be with the body of Christ to celebrate his resurrection.
    Lord, you alone are worthy of our praise. Thank you for seeing us and purchasing us. Glory to God!

    Thank you for listening to my answered prayer. Happy Easter!

    • AnnaLee

      Praise the Lord, sister!!! I am so overjoyed to see you not only obeying the Lord's call to go back into church, but to also do so as one body with your husband!!! The Lord has truly abundantly blessed you!! Praise you, Jesus, that you supply us with all things that we need and richly bless us when we trust and follow you!!! I'll continue praying for you, dear friend! xoxo

  • jaustin35

    As I was reading this devo. , tonight, I had tears going down my face… I, like others from She Reads Truth have never gotten that last part in Matthew ( or if I did, I have forgotten or just read it anew)….. Thank-you Father for purchasing me even though I look filthy and thread barren – thank-you for allowing me – the very least of these into Your house and look in my eyes with love…….

  • EssieJean

    Like so many others, that little section where the least come into the temple with Him has never even entered my mind. Thank you so much for pointing that out to us today!

  • What wonderful assurance we have. Just to know he did it and we get the benefits. Praise Him.

    • tina

      Lois, it so is amazing that we benefit from it all….what an assurance, Praise Him indeed and then some….Blessings.x

  • pinkcupcakesandcardio

    I love this!!! This is probably one of my favorite weeks! It reminds me of the most amazing sacrifice ever! It renews my thankfulness for Jesus and all he did for me!
    The narrative that was in today's post was so good! Loved how it was written.
    Blessings to all!

  • Emily Thomas

    “We cannot purchase him for he has purchased us.” Yes! I do sometimes feel like my good performance can earn favor. It’s simply can’t.

    • tina

      Emily, I know what you mean….so easy to think that our relationship with the Lord is of this world…..but it ain't…..ah, AMEN to that..!!!!

      • AnnaLee

        Praise you, God! Amen Tina! Our relationship with God is truly not of this world… Hallelujah…

  • Thats the God we serve. He bares our infirmities. He doesn't called the qualified, He qualifies the called. He that praises himself shall be humbled. He that humbles himself shall be praised.

    • tina

      Isn't He amazing …..the God we serve…Kimone, I so love our God……I pray His abundant blessings over you dear sister.x

  • ofDustandWonder

    This passage is so beautiful to me this morning. Funny, as it's a pretty well known Jesus story, one I've heard time and time again– but it never gets old. In fact, I think it's one of my favorite glimpses at the heart of Christ. That he's not this pushover with a perm and a blue robe. Jesus loved people so well but he was also just and courageous, seeing him in this account is always a fresh breath for my soul. :)

    • EssieJean

      "He's not this pushover with a perm and a blue robe" – Hahahaha! Oh yes, I can see the hair wings on the flannel-board Jesus now. Thanks for the laugh, my dear!

  • Lord, I am so grateful that you love the lame, the broken and the weak. I would be lost without you!

    • tina

      Thanking the Lord alongside you Charise…..I know I would be so truly lost without Him….x

  • nafisara

    This scripture brought me to a place within me. I am my biggest enemy, My body is my temple and I used to violate my temple. Robbing myself of its dignity, happiness, joy, peace, love. My temple used to be a place of darkness. The child in me, the innocent me, was scared and my heart was calloused and numb in the name of trying to protect myself from the evils, but I couldn't save myself from me. But Jesus has come in and has been tearing all of that apart. Turning it all over and became the light within me. Has given me the protection, has told me I belong after I cast myself out. He is my defense from me. I will continue to side with Jesus, to follow, to sit at his feet and hear his word. Lord help me to share my light with others that they may submit themselves to your feet. Amen

    • AnnaLee

      Beautiful Nafisara… "He has given me the protection, has told me I belong after I cast myself out. He is my defense from me." Praise you, Lord. That you are my defense from myself, my biggest, most violent enemy. You tell me the truth more intimately than the voices in my head try to talk out at me… You hold me closer than the skin I'm in… You are my safe place from myself, fighter of the battles happening within me, strong redeemer of the brokenness in me crying out. Praise you, Lord…. Praise you forever, I cannot do enough to praise you, my God and king, my husband and lover, my friend!

  • I am broken and I know He wants me in but my brokenness, anger and discontent keeps getting in the way. I love these words, so thankful He does want the lame and broken. I pray I can find the faith to let it all go and remember that it isn't my fight. God has this and always had. Thank you for the words and time all of you give. You are making a difference!

    • tina

      Cheryl, holding you up in prayer…hoping you will find the peace of God within you…and that you will be truly covered by Him who has the victory….Blessings dear sister…x

    • AnnaLee

      Praying for you today, Cheryl, that you'd give all to Him and that He'd meet you right where you are. He is healing you, sister. He is doing a good work in your life no matter how hard this is or what it seems like. Give it all to him and rest! Decide to forgive, even if you don't feel it, not so that others will "win," (that's bologna!) but so that you can truly see The Lord's will for your life and enjoy the multitude of blessings He has for you! Lord, I just pray right now that Cheryl will let your love and abundant eclipse everything that has been going on in her life. I pray that she'd find the strength, rest, healing and comfort that she so needs to let go and keep looking to you! Be near to her today, O Lord! Heal our sister, your daughter! Bless her overwhelmingly Lord, in all things that you delight in blessing her in. Praise you, father! Be blessed, sister!

  • Janee White

    In Luke 19:41, we are told that when He saw Jerusalem, he wept over it. Then He went into the temple and cast out all the buyers and sellers. Then, oh and then, He healed all the blind and lame that came to Him.

    To see what can be done, in the temple of God, once the robbers and thieves have been kicked out.

    • AnnaLee

      So much emotion in only a few verses… so much pain and pity and compassion for the people, mixed with anger at the sin and injustice that had caused so much pain…
      We're cities, too. We're temples of the Living God, too. Jesus looks on us, in our sinful, proud, hard-hearted, lost and least and lame state, and cries over us, weeps over us… completely grieves the state of our hearts, for he loves and cares for us, has compassion. At the same time, his anger burns toward the sin and rebellion in our lives that has brought us to this state. With divine authority and in righteous anger, He proclaims that it will all be swept out TODAY. He turns over the tables, runs out the wicked, and clears out every last bit of evil and oppression within us, demanding in all His authority that His house of prayer will no longer be made a den of robbers! He purges it of all evil, washes it away, and renews a right spirit within us, calling on us to be healed and held after the rebellion and worldliness have been cast out. He makes us a new place, a new temple, just like He does in these passages. Wow. The transformation in us is just as powerful, just as shocking, just as (and if not more!!) praise worthy. Praise you, Lord Jesus! For transforming us according to your good pleasure, compassion and authority!

      • Janee White

        Amen my friend! Your words could not have come at a better time. I feel as though today T.O.D.A.Y. is THAT day for me. Christ looked at me, saw my distress and wept. He sent new mercies, that arrived with the morning; and washed the dust of the old off my feet. He grabbed hold of my hand, picked me back up, and washed me clean leaving me white as snow. Though once thought destroyed, the temple was raised and repositioned in the land. He re-lit the lamp, and placed it back on the stand, right smack-dab in the middle of the room. He purposed this time in the desert, and took me from desolation to garden. Today is a new day, and with it came hope. He is my strength. He is my joy. He is not just my King, but my husband as well. I have been made well.

        Oh how I pray, that if any part of you is broken, that He do the same for you and return you to your glorious place at His Right Hand. He loves you my friend. So very much. And I can not thank you enough for these words. This morning came with great revelation, destruction and rebuilding. Though it was not an easy process, it is for the good of His Kingdom. I am now strong enough to do that which He purposed me to do. Thank you sweet AnnaLee….thank you oh so much.

        • AnnaLee

          Praise the Lord Janee! That's beautiful! I'm praying for you right now, that you'd be kept close to His heart and would hold onto His words for you! Your words are so very needed… I thank God for using you to constantly encourage and re-affirm of the truth for me, for all of us, right when I need it. Praise Him. Blessings, sister. Love you. xo

  • Candacejo

    "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

    So thankful He invited ME in…the least of these. Lord, help me to stop focusing on all of my inabilities and realize YOU have a plan for ME. I surrender today!

    • tina

      And me too….Candace jo…surrendering all of me Lord…x x x

    • AnnaLee

      Amen, Candace! Father, I thank you for inviting me in despite myself, being one who made a den of robbers in your holy temple. Thank you for allowing all of us to come to you in a vulnerable way, confessing our need for your saving grace! I surrender to your will today, Lord. I want to know you, Jesus, more.

  • Jesus is always looking for:
    The least, the lost, the last, the lonely,and the nearly dead. My prayer this week is to have His eyes and heart.

    • AnnaLee

      Beautiful, Heather! Father, fill our lives with those least, last, lost, lonely, dead-on-the-inside people… and let us be your Sweet Aroma, that they may KNOW you live in us and that they'd know you because of your work in us! Lord, work in me, transform me, so that I welcome them all instead of fleshfully walking by them.

  • Thank you Lord for loving "the least" of us. I've never seen so much HOPE in this rightful place to be.

  • I heard a sermon yesterday that put a slightly different angle on this passage but as I have read this beautiful devotion I see the validity of both…ISN"T God's Word AMAZING!!

    The pastor talked about Jesus cleaning house, God's Temple…and then he brought it to ME! How about when Jesus cleans my house for I am God's Temple? Cleans the inside so HE can fill it with LOVE that welcomes others, LOVE that flows down from heaven, a Sanctuary for Christ.

    • Mahalia

      "Search me oh God, and know my heart today; try me oh Saviour, know my thoughts I pray. See if there be some wicked ways in me. Cleanse me from every sin and set me free" as I invite you to tabernacle with me today, Lord!!!! Rid me of pride and help me to always be humble, reaching out for your strength and direction. That I may not seek to have my agenda, but that Your will be done in my life/on earth as it is in heaven. Strengthen me in my weak areas as you grow me into the woman, wife, leader, … that pleases you. Please do the same for my SRT sisters. Amen.

      • AnnaLee

        Praying your same prayer, Mahalia. Praise the Lord. Jesus, cast out all that wickedness, humanity, and evil within me. Forgive me for making your house of prayer a den of robbers, and after casting out all that sin, renew my heart– give me a heart of flesh and not of stone, so that I can be the true house of prayer, the true holy temple, that you so desire, oh Lord, my God. Blessings, sister. xo

    • Gema Muniz

      I love that! he cleans us from all of our filth and fills us with his love, that way we can welcome others by showing his love to others.

  • His fearlessness and strength in the face of the leaders and priests… It's awe-inspiring. I'm so humbled.

    • AnnaLee

      He (of course, being the Son of God, the Messiah!) was indeed awe-inspiring and revolutionary. I remember being in a class where a guest professor in theology came in to talk about Jesus, starting with the history of Israel and who Jesus really was according to the Prophets. It was a class in a secular school, but He said that even if you (somehow) refused to believe that Jesus was God, you cannot claim that there was anyone like Him. No guru or prophet or rabbi, because all of them were in line with and products of their society, Jesus was a completely counter-culture… shocking at times… bigger than MLK and Ghandi, upholding yet transforming the way people saw the book of Moses… completely non-aggressive/violent and completely Kingdom-Minded. Looking at Jesus from this point of view just humbled me even more before Christ, and this scene totally sets up that picture for me. Jesus, all I can do is praise you. Thank you, father. Praise you forever.

  • Beckie Potterfield

    Joanne, your last sentence/prayer made me just stop and say "Oh yes Lord, me too."

  • joanne sher

    I had never noticed that verse. Once He takes out the proud, He invites in the humble. Into His Father’s house – into the temple of His body. Lord, help me be the humble and broken that You beckon in – not the proud who You drive out.

  • Even more stunning is that John reveals to us that Jesus himself is THE true Temple. That he "dwelt" amongst us (the Greek for "dwelt" meaning tent/tabernacle). Sheds whole new light on this passage when we see that Jesus drives away those who appear to have it all together and invited the least to the Temple, to Himself. Praising Him that this is whom He still calls and the kind of sacrifice he desires. Thank you for this beautiful reflection, Amanda. Praising the Lord.

    • AnnaLee

      Praise God. That he drives away all those who seem to have it together, full of pride and a rock heart, and invited those least, those lame and blind and needy, innocent… Lord, break away at my hard heart, the one that wants to whiteknuckle everything, wants to have it all together, and show me that only when I am broken and the very least of this Earth, you welcome me with open arms. I give all I am, here, to you… praise you, Lord God.

  • Welcome Becca I hope you find just what you are looking for in this journey.

    Yes Tina my suitcase is also so full of life stuff old stuff that I don’t need but no longer want to carry I’ve been dragging it around to long letting it keep me from fulling serving fully seeing. It’s so heavy That it makes me tired it keeps me from fully giving God all that I have. This week I leave my full suite case of old life junk at his feet and praise and love and serve as I am surly called to do. Be blessed today ladies

    • tina

      Kelda, I'll meet you at the feet of our Savior…we'll lay our cases together at his feet, and rest in Him…..thankful that He took our load/ burdens…and bought us Salvation in the process…..bless you dear sister.x x

  • Hi, I'm new here but these words are just what I needed to read- that place of restoration and communion is just where I need to be right now. Looking forward to joining in the journey with you.

  • Mrscoop62

    Thank you Jesus for all you have done for me even when I didn't deserve it, Thank you for purchasing me…

    • drshanwalks

      Made a mistake tried to hit like. You took the very words out if my mouth. God bless!

  • How amazing is this , that as I read the intro….He invites the least in……I had this desire to be one of them being ushered in by Jesus….to be welcomed…I saw myself in the doorway……then you say Amanda Bible, 'Will you enter in the narrative with me'…..

    Lord Jesus, I look to you…..you are my hope….. my one true hope….I have walked for years and miles carrying this suitcase full of the life I have lived without you, and yet knowing you were there, …..the sin and trouble I have caused, the mistakes, the heartache I have brought about through my lack of trust, my brokenness, the person I made myself to be, through the eyes of 'nobody cares attitude' the list goes on…..I enter into the temple, YOUR house of prayer, Lord, and I put that heavy suitcase down, the burdens I have carried for so long, I lay them down at your feet,…., I Give it all to you, no more hidden agenda, I give it all to you, I am laying in full surrender, Lord, giving it all to you….
    Thank you Lord Jesus, for your open invitation to come all who are weary, and that we will find rest in YOU, Thank you for being the friend of sinners and tax collectors, Thank you for the promise of being with us to the end of time, never to leave us nor forsake us, Thank you for knowing my name, for holding out your hand to me, when I have fallen down, and felt alone, Thank you Lord Jesus, for the Grace, mercy, forgiveness, hope, Salvation you have bought me through your death on the cross, and by your resurrection…..I owe you so so so so much, yet, We cannot purchase Him, for He has purchased us…..Thank you…..Lord…..Thank you….humbled all I can say is Thank you….

    I've gone on again sister's, sorry…..

    Happy monday…..God bless you all abundantly today….xxx

    • Steph_Lilac

      Why the apology Tina? Is this not the place to express yourself amongst Sisters? Do you think your words are in vain or not received? Your lengthy (but well WORTH the read) posts often voice what so many of us feel but can't quite put into words. If you wrote a shortened or abbreviated post that didn't fully express what you had to say, it just wouldn't feel right. May you have a blessed Monday in the Lord speaking boldly what He has laid on your heart.

      • tina

        Steph, thank you so very much for your kind words, encouragement…… and blessings, ….they mean a lot to me….God bless you too, this God given day……Thanks again…x x

    • Sue:)

      Oh Tina, you spoke my heart! Thank you. x

      • tina

        Sue, thank you…..it is always a blessing to know that the words I write are not just words that I write but, that they do resonates with someone…..it is even more of a blessing to know that it reached that heart….so thank you , dear Sue for BLESSING me…..x x

    • EssieJean

      Never apologize, Tina! Your words are always a blessing on my day, and never cease to encourage me to be transparent before the Lord and others!

      • tina

        Such kind words Essiejean, …Thank you..for your encouragement ….Thank you….God bless you x x

Further Reading...