GNB 2.77

April 3, 2023


Therefore, put on the full armor of God. In so doing you will be able to stand your ground when the day of evil comes. After you have done everything you are able to in that day, you will be able to stand [before the throne of God with humble confidence.]” (Ephesians 6.13)

And PRAY in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6.18)


I believe it is fitting, and I love how God by His Holy Spirit leads my devotional reflection time in this manner, that in the season of Passover lead by the gospel rendering of Jesus’ ministry nearing its earthly end, we collide in the “moment of PRAYER.” His first act of authority upon entering into Jerusalem was to hold those in the Temple accountable to God by God’s expressed Word. The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) differ from John in this regard as it pertains to timing. Consider the following:

Imagine the impetus of conviction if indeed we were to synthesize the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke with John on this event. In Matthew, Mark and Luke we hear of Jesus declaring the impurity of the Temple as it is violated by the money-changers and “salvation” vendors under the nose of the Temple leadership (and perhaps with their sanctioning for a “fee”). But, in John, it comes immediately following the “Miracle at Cana” where Jesus turned water into wine and thus reveals Himself to be the author of a new covenant to be made in His blood…the taste of new wine from a new wineskin. Let’s put the two events into one gospel story. So, in year one of Jesus’ ministry (John’s gospel rendering), He goes into the Temple and clears the air about the atrocity of turning a place of worship into a marketplace (beware modern-day churches) and the disciples are reminded of the psalm “Zeal for Your House [O God] will consume Me.” (69.9) Then in year three at the end of His earthly ministry in the flesh during Passover Week (the Synoptic Gospel rendering), He again enters the temple only to find that it is “business as usual.” His first warning was apparently ignored and the violation continues that forgiveness by petitioning prayer, solemn faith and remembeing that God does not require “our” sacrifice but a contrite heart is apparently not what God actually expected. It becomes clear to Jesus that “the way, the truth and the life” will without question include also His heinous and utter physical death by crucifixion as the last sacrifice sufficient to bring God’s forgiveness upon the faith (and His wrath upon those who refuse to believe that Jesus is the Christ) and validate it by surrendering His very Spirit into God’s safekeeping to be restored in the Resurrection. Doesn’t it make you wonder why we have to keep clearing the “temple” in order to make room for what is required of us: to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly before our God?

Can you imagine the audacity, in the proposed scenario above, of both Jesus (thankfully) and the Temple leadership (shamefully) when it came to the sanctification of the Temple. It was as if the vendors had the blessing of High Priest to practice “salvation for a price.” We, as mighty ones of God, know that our salvation came at a price: the blood of the Lamb who was slain, wounded for our transgressions for by His stripes [His woundedness unto death] we are eternally healed. This means that death is no longer a threat to us. Our sin, being confessed to God in our profession of faith that Jesus is the Christ and Son of the Living God as well as our Lord and Savior without question, is forgiven and expressed in our desire to forgive one another in prayer, psalms, hymns and spiritual songs just in the manner by which we are now able to worship God in spirit and in truth. Yes, we may die in the flesh but that death is but a moment and pales in comparison to the second death which is of the spirit never surrendered to God. But, we know of the blessing and the promise given to us by God in Jesus Christ and validated in His resurrection. As He surrendered His Spirit into the hands of God, it was returned on the Third Day when He was raised from the dead and not found in the tomb. The cross was empty. The tomb was empty. But, hope was fulfilled for all of God’s people who would choose to walk in the way, abide by the truth and take life as it is given by God and no other- eternal and abundant.

And in the reflections on “put on the whole armor of God,” Paul encourages the believers in Christ to PRAY. Their houses of worship are intended to be houses of prayer for the nation, for the people of God who have accepted Jesus as the Christ and for those who have not yet done so but will be given that opportunity by the witness of the Church faithful to the cause, the purpose and the mission of the gospel. Paul calls the community of faith in Ephesus to:

  1. Pray for one another (just as we are called by Christ to love one another) with all kinds of prayers and requests;
  2. Pray for Him (as we would for all for are on the front lines of promoting the gospel in every venue preaching to “the captives”) and
  3. Pray for boldness and fearlessness knowing that, as he encouraged Timothy, “we are not created with a spirit of timidity and fear.” The words of Jesus echo now to us as it did for the disciples in the Upper Room on the night of His arrest “Do not be afraid for I AM and have overcome the world.”

The time is now, mighty ones of God, to pray in witness and affirmation not just because it is “Holy Week” but because it is the calling of preparedness for the acceptable Day of the Lord.


Father, into Your Hands we commend our spirits, our bodies and our purpose to bear witness to all the nations for the sake of completing the mission given to us to make disciples, baptize them, teach them The Word and bring glory to Your Name. AMEN.

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