Barriers to the Presence of Jesus
The tragedy with the Temple in Jerusalem is that business was carried on in the court of the Gentiles in the temple, the place where the Jews should have been meeting the Gentiles and telling them about the one true God. Any Gentile searching for truth would not likely find it among the religious merchants in the temple.
The Temple consisted of a series of courts leading into the Temple proper and to the Holy Place. There was first the Court of the Gentiles, then the Court of the Women, then the Court of the Israelites, then the Court of the Priests. All this buying and selling was going on in the Court of the Gentiles which was the only place into which a Gentile might come. Beyond that point, access to Him was barred. So then if there was a Gentile whose heart God had touched, he might come into the Court of the Gentiles to mediate and pray and distantly touch God. The Court of the Gentiles was the only place of prayer he knew.
The Temple authorities and the Jewish traders were making the Court of the Gentiles into an uproar and a rabble where no man could pray. The lowing of the oxen, the bleating of the sheep, the cooing of the doves, the shouts of the hucksters, the rattle of the coins, the voices raised in bargaining disputes—all these combined to make the Court of the Gentiles a place where no man could worship. The conduct in the Temple court shut out the seeking Gentile from the presence of God. Jesus was moved to the depths of his heart because seeking men were being shut out from the presence of God.
Is there anything in our church life—a snobbishness, an exclusiveness, a coldness, a lack of welcome, an arrogance—which keeps the seeking stranger out? Let us remember the wrath of Jesus against those who made it difficult and even impossible for the seeking stranger to make contact with God.