It had been a while since he had been home, and he was looking forward to it.
Weeks of moving from city to city, town to town and village to village had tired him, and he was now returning home.
He remembered growing up there, and the faces of the friendly people who often visited. He remembered their smiles, their kindness, and the way his parents greeted them.
He remembered his Father and how hospitable he always was.
He remembered setting up the house together, how strong it had been when they first built it, and how beautiful the furniture they designed was.
He remembered that the goal had always been to welcome those who needed a home – the broken, the lost and the hurting.
He remembered the joy it brought him, and the joy it brought to their guests as well.
Years had passed since he had set out on a journey with his friends. He was now ready to come home. He was now ready to go back to the place where his heart was. He was ready to meet his father, and all the guests who had found a home there.
He rode into the city and headed straight for his house, his friends travelling right beside him.
He rode, the longing within him growing with each passing moment.
He was close…and that’s when he saw it.
They were ransacking the place.
They were vandalizing the furniture.
They were mugging the guests. And beating them. And chasing them away.
They seemed to have assumed control of his house.
He watched in horror as the poor guests were driven away. He watched in shock as the criminals continued to destroy the place, replacing all the furniture with their own.
And in the distance, he could hear the thing that had always upset him the most – the cry of his father.
Anger filled his heart.
Engulfed in rage, he ran towards his house and with the voice of a hundred men, he screamed. He took hold of the tables that the robbers had set up and overturned them.
The robbers stared in shock, and though they were many and he was only one, they were filled with fear.
Oh they were angry, but they were still in fear.
He continued to wreck the work they had done, and when he had finished, he stared at them – those robbers, those thieves, those men who called themselves priests of God.
He stared in anger, still holding the cord of whips that he had made, the very same cord he just used to chase the moneylenders, and those selling doves away.
“Is it not written:”, he screamed, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”
Years have passed.
He has travelled the world again. And he is once again, coming home. A different home this time, one that is closer to us than we know. He set it up, just like the other one – to be a place of love, a place of refuge, kindness, hospitality – for those who are rejected, the poor, the broken and the lost.
And He is now coming, riding, closer and closer – to your heart.
Pray He does not find it a den of robbers.
Context: From Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 21, verses 12-13 –
Then Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those selling doves. And He declared to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ ”