In our readings for this week, Jesus cleanses the temple and laments over Jerusalem. He mourns that they do not know the things that make for peace. But what is Jesus talking about? Jeremiah tells the people of Israel, years before Jesus, that to dwell in Jerusalem in peace, they must amend their ways, and follow the Law given to them by God. Some did not listen, and some did not understand.

Paul tells us in Romans that they did not achieve righteousness even when they pursued the Law. Why? Because they did not understand that the Way to peace with God was not by doing good works by their own strength. We are saved by faith in Christ, the power of God to save all who turn to Him and believe. It is only through faith in Christ, and by His gift of the Holy Spirit, that we can amend our ways and have peace. May God grant that we hang on the words of Christ like the people listening to Him in the temple, and turn away from the deceptive words of false prophets that speak peace without repentance.

 

 

The Old Testament lesson is from the book of Jeremiah, chapter 7, verses 1-11:

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the Lord‘s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’

“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.

The Epistle lesson is from Romans, chapter 9, verse 30, to chapter 10 verse 4:

What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
    and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

[10] Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

The Gospel for the tenth Sunday after Trinity is from Luke, chapter 19, verses 41-48:

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.

Christ Cleansing the Temple, by Luca Giordano [Public domain]

First Lutheran Church of Boston Devotional Readings

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