The state of Mississippi encourages churches to prepare for violence that may occur at their church. They urge churches to develop a plan; identify potential threats, decide in advance how to respond; assess how any violence could affect the church and community, and plan how the church will recover after a crisis. Jesus had to deal with a certain kind Temple violence in His day. Religious leaders were tolerating activities in the Temple that took advantage of people. Merchants ignored that the Temple was to be a place of prayer and worship for all people—irrespective of ethnicity, gender, or class. These merchants had taken space reserved for non-Jews and turned it into a marketplace. In addition, they overcharged worshipers who had to exchange secular money for Temple money. Instead of the Temple being a place to pray, praise, and preach God’s word, Jesus said the merchants had turned it into a den of thieves. He used His authority to chase them all out. He replaced the activities with healing the hurting. He told the merchants, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” Sacred places where Christians gather each week should be secure; devoted to kingdom activities: worship, instruction, prayer, fellowship, and service to the needy and hurting.
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