For All Nations

When Jesus ran the money changers out of the temple, He exclaimed, “Mark 11:17 NIV

“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.’ ”

There are a couple of important points we want to make about this. First, the House of God is to be a house of prayer for all nations. The Jewish people were to be a people set apart by God to draw all people to Himself, but the people treated it as a sense of entitlement. In fact, it is widely believed that the place where this was taking place was the “Court of the Gentiles,” the only place in the temple that the Gentiles were allowed to enter.

Just as the people gravitated towards their own back in Jesus’ day, we do the same thing today. We are called to go and make disciples of all nations, yet we struggle reach out to those who look, act, or talk different than us.

The reality is the His house is to be called a house of prayer for all nations, because He is the God of all nations.

All people are created in the image of God, and it is His desire to see all people come to know salvation. This is an important reason for us to become a multiethnic church. Our churches should be houses of prayer for all the nations, and this can only happen if we are multiethnic.

Rodney Cooper points out that the story of the temple bracketed by the story/miracle of the fig tree is significant. The fig tree had lots of leaves but no fruit. Similarly,

“The religious system of the day had plenty of leaves but no fruit. Its surface piety was seen in tithes and prayers and fasts (cf. Matt. 5-7), in the ritual purity that kept out women, lepers, blind beggars and those possessed by demons. The foliage of the religious leaders offered much promise but no fulfillment. As the fig tree could not satisfy Jesus’ appetite, so the religious system could not satisfy the spiritual hunger of the people.

Rodney Cooper, Holman New Testament Commentary: Mark, p. 187

This should be a warning to us and to all who have a pretty faith (one that looks nice from the outside) that leaves no impact. This type of ministry is worthless to Jesus. They will wither and die.

Lord, may Your churches become houses of prayer for all the nations, and may You develop in us a faith that makes an impact, until you call us home!

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