Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Proverbs 5:15-23 and Luke 20:1-18.

Luke 20:1-2 One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders 2 and said to him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?” (NRSV)

I like today’s passage from the Gospel because it reveals to us the respect that Jesus had for the Jewish faith He grew up in. That may seem strange because He experiences a fierce confrontation with the religious authorities, but if we focus on the conflict and ponder over the parable Christ tells, we miss the first couple of points that Luke makes in his description of this event.

You see Jesus was teaching in the Temple. He was at the very center of His Jewish faith and He chose to teach the people and pilgrims, bystanders and passers-by there. In other words, Christ embraced the idea of a structured religious center where people could assemble to worship God, say their prayers, and bring their gifts. If Jesus was totally against any of that, He would never have taught there. Instead, He teaches us the importance of religious places as being centers of discipleship and worship, wisdom and knowledge for spiritual people.

The second point is that He preached the good news – the gospel – inside the temple courts, too. If this was a sacred and holy house where God’s presence resided, then what better place to preach about God’s grace and love, mercy, and forgiveness? Christ could have rejected all of this and taken His ministry back into the hills where He came from, but instead, He treats the temple – after clearing out the money-changers – as a place of blessing, teaching, and faith; a spiritual oasis for weary pilgrims and a house of learning for seekers.

All over the world, people still gather in churches to praise God, say their prayers, and bring their gifts. The churches are also learning centers for the Christian faith we now embrace. In other words, we follow in Christ’s footsteps by being part of a religious process that He initiated – to be among His people in a sacred house of God – teaching the truth and preaching the Gospel.

Point to ponder: How is Christ’s ministry continued in the church I attend?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You teach the Gospel through Your words and deeds. You show us how to respect and revere God. You also offer us grace and mercy, hope and love. Encourage us to be with Your people and receive the blessings of Your teaching in the sacred places called church. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s new Holy Week drawings called ‘Passion.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: click here