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.
Speaking to the Corinthians, Paul says they were led astray by idols – but the Israelites were likewise led astray. Why? Because they did not understand that the Way to peace with God was not by doing good works by their own strength. The Pharisees worshiped their own ability to follow God’s law, making themselves their own savior. We are more like them than we care to admit – how tempting it is to set up our own path to God with rules we find easier to follow, without the constant need to repent our sinfulness!
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.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6
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 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, verses 1-11:
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
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.