Scripture: Numbers 34-36, Mark 11
Mark 11:17 “‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have made it a den of thieves.”
Jesus memorized Scripture.
I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed it like this before, but there it is: Jesus is quoting Isaiah 56:7 from memory. He isn’t packing the Isaiah scroll around. He has it memorized!
I wonder how much Scripture Jesus had memorized. I’ve read that young Jewish boys memorized huge amounts of Scripture—the whole Torah, and large sections of the Psalms and Prophets. When you read the Gospels, it’s clear that Jesus had lots of Scripture memorized. He quotes it often, always from memory, with a single exception (Luke 4, where he read from the scroll in the synagogue—but even there, he knew exactly where to find what he was looking for).
On Thursday, I felt like the Lord encouraged me to memorize more Scripture—this confirmed that.
Also, Jesus said this while cleansing the Temple, driving out the businesses that had set up there and turned the Court of Gentiles into a noisy marketplace. The Court of Gentiles was the large outer court, and was the only place Gentiles (the nations) could come to seek the Lord. They weren’t allowed beyond that—into the Court of Israel or the Holy Place. So the one place where the nations could come to pray to God was overrun by noisy merchants. No wonder Jesus was upset.
A couple prayer points. First, while our building isn’t the house of God in the same sense the Temple was, it should still be “a house of prayer”—a place where anyone could come and pray and seek God. Second, in the New Covenant, we, the people of God, are His house. We are to be the house of prayer, the place where people can meet God. That is true whether we are the church gathered or scattered. So all week long, wherever we are, we should be open for business, ready to pray for and with people.
Prayer: Lord, help me to memorize lots of Scripture like Jesus did. And help me to be “a house of prayer for all nations” wherever I am.