Tuesday of the Week of Lent I
Today’s readings: Deuteronomy 9:1-12; Hebrews 3:1-11; John 2:13-22
“But Jesus spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken” (John 2:22).
The larger appointed passage for today is Jesus cleansing the Jerusalem temple of those selling oxen, sheep and pigeons for sacrifice, and the moneychangers at their businesses. He was consumed with zeal for the house of his Father—that it had become a place of trade—especially with regard to the sacrifices required. Remember, it was not the sacrifices which Jesus abhorred, but the way that sacrifice to the Lord God, atonement and forgiveness had become a money-making scheme, institutionalized in the temple precincts which were supposed to be for prayer!
As we observe the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year, we are reminded of Luther’s protests in the 1500s. Rather than encouraging the faithful to engage in heartfelt, true repentance that involved the whole of one’s life and being, “penance” was reduced to a money-making scheme for the Church, with forgiveness, grace and mercy being bought and sold. Rather than repentance and change of life, we are always seeking to institutionalize salvation so we can know that, when we do the right things, pay the right amount, behave the right way, the salvation machine will guarantee us eternal life.
Jesus speaks to us, however, as he did to those in the temple, reminding us that, finally, it is all about the temple of his body, destroyed on Good Friday, raised up on the third day—the day on which Jesus conquered sin, death and the devil, assuring us salvation is from Christ the Lord! Believe the Scripture and the Word which Jesus has spoken!
Prayer: Lord God, help us to believe the Scripture and the word which Jesus has spoken—trusting in him alone. Amen.
Lenten Response: Find a way to mention to someone that this year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and see if that opens the door to a conversation about the Gospel.
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.
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Source: NALC Devotions