We’re looking at Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the Temple. Remember, Solomon is praying this prayer aloud in the presence of all the people.
“In the future, foreigners who do not belong to Your people Israel will hear of You. They will come from distant lands because of Your Name, for they will hear of Your Great Name and Your strong hand and Your powerful arm. In this way, all the people of the earth will come to know and fear You, just as Your own people Israel do” (I Kings 8:41-42a, 43b, NLT).
“Foreigners who do not belong to Your people Israel…” God’s plan has always included “the world” (John 3:16). Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord made it clear: “My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7b).
Three times in the book of Isaiah we see reminders that the people of Israel were to be God’s messengers to the rest of the world: (1) “I will appoint you as My promise to the people, as My light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6, God’s Word). (2) “I have given thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that thou mayst be My salvation even to the farthest part of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6b, Douay-Rheims Bible). (3) “Nations will come to your light” (Isaiah 60:3a, NIV).
No wonder Jesus was so angry that the religious leaders had allowed the Court of the Gentiles to become a chaotic business market. The non-Jews who came to the Temple to worship stood among livestock, buyers, sellers, moneychangers and enough racket to drown out any hope of being able to be in an attitude of prayer and worship.
In Matthew 21:12-13 we read the account: “Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, ‘The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
Jesus not only quoted from Isaiah 56:7, He also quoted from Jeremiah 7:11: “Don't you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears My Name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
When Jesus spoke what we read recorded in Matthew 21, the people recognized the words as those of the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. As Jesus stood amid the cacophony of the Court of the Gentiles, the words He spoke came alive to the people. Jesus drove the message home in a way that those within the sound of His voice would never forget.
Through the nation of Israel, the Light has come. Isaiah 60:1 proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah long before He came to be born of a virgin: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (NIV).
The New Testament leaves no doubt as to the identity of “the Light.” Zechariah, celebrating the birth of his son John as the forerunner of the Messiah, declared: “The morning light from heaven is about to break upon us” (Luke 1:78b, NLT). When Jesus began His earthly ministry, He “moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah: ‘In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali… in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light’” (Matthew 4:13b-15a, 15c-16a – see Isaiah 9:1-2). And in John 3:19b, we read: “Light has come into the world.”
Jesus Himself declared the Good News: “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness” (John 12:46, NASB).
The Light has come! Are you sharing Him?
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates