Prepare to Listen. My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. (Isaiah 56:7)
Prayerfully Read Matthew 21:12-17
12Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13He said to them, ‘It is written,
“My house shall be called a house of prayer”;
but you are making it a den of robbers.’
14The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, they became angry 16and said to him, ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read,
“Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise for yourself”?’
17He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.
I always thought this story was about Jesus’ attempt to take over the temple by violent force as a protest against exploitation, until I read it with a second gaze. I saw little violence other than the overturned tables and seats. He did temporarily stop sacrifices, because, as Wright notes, “If people couldn’t change money or buy doves, even for a short while, they couldn’t offer sacrifice. The Temple’s reason for existence was called into question.”
Jesus was focused, not on protest, but on the temple’s purpose, emphasizing two truths. First, combining verses from Jeremiah and Isaiah he reminded them that the temple was a house of prayer for all peoples.  It’s a place where all peoples, regardless of status or race, are welcome and where God can be sought and found. Sadly, the Jews and some Christians today, put limits on who can and can’t enter God’s house.
Second, in welcoming and healing “the blind and the lame” Jesus acted out a second purpose, reversing an old ban. When David conquered Jerusalem he banned the blind and lame from entering When the temple was built, the ban remained in place and the blind and lame were excluded. Jesus broke the ban and welcomed them into the temple, healing the people who were once excluded. “It was an action of full significance. It summed up everything Jesus had been doing throughout his ministry.” He’s in the business of including and loving, not excluding and punishing.
Who are the people the church hinders and fails to welcome today? How can you stand up for them as Jesus did?
Respond in Prayer
Lord, don’t let me forget that you welcome all peoples into your presence so that I live in ways that are welcoming to all, regardless of who. Amen.
Live Obediently. Keep God’s House open for all peoples.
 Wright, N. T. Matthew for Everyone Part 2. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. 2004, p. 72.
 Jeremiah 7:11; Isaiah 56:7, which adds all peoples.  The story is in 2 Samuel 5:6-10.
 Wright, p. 72.
Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.