Read Mark 11:15-17, Isaiah 56:7, and Leviticus 19:34.
Why should we care about internationals living in our land? Because Jesus really cared about foreigners living in Israel.
In today’s passage, take a careful look at what happened when Jesus saw the Jewish people practicing discrimination by not caring about the spiritual lives of the foreigners living in their land. It says, “He taught them saying, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations?” You have made it a place of robbers’” (Mark 11:17, emphasis added).
When we read this story, we often concentrate on the fact that there were robbers in the house of God, but the problem runs much deeper than that. Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 56:7, which talks about God gathering those from foreign lands and giving them a place to worship.
Jesus was upset that the Jews were discriminating against the foreigners. The place where they were doing business was the Court of the Gentiles, the only place in the temple where those from other countries could come and pray to God. They made it impossible for the foreigners to worship God in the temple, and this is what upset our Lord so very much.
Those He loves could not come and worship God and the people of Israel did not obey God and love the foreigners in their land (Lev.19:34).
If Jesus took such extreme measures to make a place for the foreigners to worship and to show His feelings about the attitude of the people, how can we make sure the internationals that live among us know about Jesus and have a place in our churches to worship the One true God?
Would our attitudes toward internationals cause Jesus deep pain? Do we care about their spiritual condition enough to love them and make a place for them in our churches?
Father, grow our hearts for the foreigners. Help us reflect Christ’s love for the Gentiles—like many of us—that He came to save. Amen.
-from our English Second Language Training Coordinator