"But Jesus on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man." John 2: 24-35
After Jesus performed His first miracle in The Galilee, He went up the mountain to Jerusalem and cleaned out The Temple for the first time. Once He drove out the animals and overturned the tables of the money changers, He said,
"Stop making My Father's house a place of business." John 2: 16
His disciples would never forget what they saw that day. Jesus was on fire with a zeal they had never witnessed before, and would never see again. They recalled an Old Testament prophecy, "ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME." Jesus is The Light, because He is a flame of fire. Those who turn away from The Light will always feel the burn!
Jesus has a jealous streak for God's glory, and those who confuse their personal agenda or financial enrichment with His Father's redemptive plan, invite His righteous wrath. When Jesus was a 12 year old boy He reminded His parents, that He must be about His Father's business. That didn't include a model that allows people to ruin the family business, by merging their corrupt practices and bankrupt priorities, with God's portfolio. He isn't running a glorified Ponzi scheme.
"Stop making my Father's house a place of business."
Now that sounds pretty clear. How in the world have Baptist churches found the latitude to kick prayer meetings to the curb, and yet keep business meetings on the calendar? Does anyone else see a conflict of interest here?
Over the past 62 years, I have logged a lot of time in churches in this country. If going to church provided frequent flyer miles, I would be a Platinum Member. From the vantage point of six decades of experience, allow me to sum up the weakness of the local church in two sentences. If I ever wanted to draw a crowd, I would call a business meeting. If I ever wanted to clear a room, I would call a prayer meeting. That is all.
I remember a Trustee making this comment to me in a church in Georgia. In the face of a movement of God that was leading grown men to Christ, baptizing hundreds of people, and causing the inconvenience in a church that only new growth can bring, he said, "These new people don't love this church like we do." He was right. They were coming to church to meet Jesus, and to turn control of their lives over to Him. He and his friends were only interested in staying in power and keeping control of the church for themselves. 13 years later, he has become an Elder of the church, run off the intruders, and wrestled the church down to a third of its size. They are as happy as clams. He thinks Jesus is proud of him. Go figure.
As a boy, I recall monthly business meetings in the church that had all the love of a drive by shooting. After each blood bath, the gangs would retire to their homes to lick their wounds and prepare to fight another day. In my first pastorate, our only hope of survival was holding these meetings once a quarter. It was not much of an improvement. Good times.
Jesus said to The Seven Churches in John's Revelation, "I know." You can lie to your friends, and I can lie to mine, but Jesus knows. Jesus knows people and He knows His Father's business. People who think they are doing business with Jesus, but have no heart for prayer, have no business being in leadership in the life of His church. They are spiritually bankrupt, and any investment of their own meager resources will bring no dividend. Any insight from their blind eyes will provide no sense of direction. As evidence of my remarks, I give you the landscape of the American culture, after 100 years of obsessive, progressive Christianity. Not very pretty.
Jesus would return to Jerusalem, three years later, and repeat His cleansing of The Temple. This second time He would state, "'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a ROBBERS' DEN." Matthew 21:13 (see also Luke 19:46 NASB) Prayer is the heart of a healthy church, and Jesus knows the life expectancy of prayerless people and prayerless churches is cut short by the lack of it.
Jesus is always about His Father's business, and He knows the hearts of men are always wandering away from it.
"He Himself knew what was in man." (John 2:25)
The Knowledge Jesus has of men, leads Him to intercede for the hearts of men. Seated at the right hand of The Father, Jesus continues carrying out the high priority of His Father's business, interceding, by name, for those who call themselves His followers, and The Father's children.
Jesus doesn't trust what people say. He knows what is in their heart. He doesn't need anyone to give Him insight into the nature of man, Without any spirit of cynicism, He is aware that if their lips are moving, they are lying. It is only when they come to The Father, in His name, that they have any chance of receiving His direction, protection, and correction. Anyone who claims to have Jesus in their heart, but is void of a heart for prayer is making a fraudulent claim of the worst kind. Sound harsh? Remember, Jesus knows. He has never trusted people who claim to be doing business with God, but have no real heart for prayer. Take heart. Jesus knows.
TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!