On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” – Mark 11: 15 – 17
Bible Reading 1: Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. — Zechariah 9:9
Bible Reading 2: The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him– may your hearts live forever. — Psalm 22:26
Chief Apostle of the New Apostolic Church, Jean-Luc Schneider held the Palm Sunday divine service in Kimberley, South Africa. While Kimberley is popularly known as the diamond city of South Africa, the real gem received by all members, many of whom were connected via transmission, was the message delivered by the ministers on Sunday, 20 March 2016.
In his opening prayer, the Chief Apostle said: “God we don’t always understand you but we want to say to you today: God we trust you. Thank you for the future you have already prepared for us.”
The Chief Apostle said we remember the entry of Jesus in Jerusalem. It must have been a great feast and they were full of joy celebrating. He was aware that it was the beginning of a time for him. He wanted the people to know certain things. He went to the temple and disapproved with certain things and told them what he wanted them to do and what the temple should be there for, a house for all nations.
- The temple of God is a place where we pray and praise.
- It’s a place for believers. The assembly of the believers.
- A temple is also our heart: a place where God lives.
He said it was actually necessary to sell dogs and animals in the temple as the Jews were not allowed to offer in foreign currency so it was needed to exchange the currency so that they could bring their offerings.
Jesus did not agree because they were using God to become rich. They were doing business with God.
Most of people’s prayer is concerned with their earthly wealth. They want to be preserved from some sickness. Jesus did not agree with this. He died for us so that our souls may be saved. He cannot agree with doing business with God.
The Chief Apostle reminded us that Jesus brought and taught love. He expects our relationship with him to be based on love and not of interest. He spoke of the den of thieves where people performed rituals and then thought that they were made ok with God, but in their heart nothing had changed.
“We want to change in our hearts. We do whatever we do because we want to be like Jesus. It’s not a question of bringing offerings or going to church out of tradition. This is not why we are children of God.”
The people also used the temple as a shortcut in their travels, he said. They used the church to make their lives easier. And the day that one does not get this help or shortcut, one goes elsewhere. “We are part of the congregation and the work of salvation. We are called by God to fulfil a mission in the Church and in the congregation. Each member is called to serve God in the church and with the church.”
What Jesus made clear is that he disagrees with:
- Doing business with God.
- Doing ‘rituals’ with the thinking that it will cause us to be made right with God.
- Using the church to make our lives easier (shortcut) – we must serve God.
We want the church to change us, to improve us, said the Chief Apostle. Do we react the same way as we did in the past…The temple should be a place where we praise, worship and glorify God.
“We should be aware that we are completely dependent on God. Be humble and know that we can do nothing without God. If we are offended by somebody, bring it to God first in prayer. Don’t tell it to other people first. This way you will not react in the same manner. When we pray we pray first for salvation of our souls. When we pray we need to believe in what we pray – this makes for a strong prayer.”
He added that we have to be patient and pray steadfastly. The Bible says that as a church they prayed day and night for their salvation. “Be patient knowing that God will answer this prayer and that He will save us.
“Salvation is for all man. My neighbour is not to become like me to be loved by God as I am loved by God. We are all so different. The needs of the one is not the same as the other. We need to therefore focus on what is important. So too in the church we need to focus on what is important- our salvation. We must still prayer for the sick and the poor but in the background to every prayer we must pray for their salvation as well.”
District Apostle Wilfried Klingler from Germany also served. He said a temple needs the presence of the Lord. “We went yesterday to Kimberly’s big hole and it is very deep. The Chief Apostle also showed us the depth of our faith.”
He said the Bible says that Jesus looked at all things in the temple, “This means that he saw all things. What kind of prayer life do we have? Two people went into the temple to pray. One was praying by himself and did not look up to the Lord. He prayed and said thank you Lord, I am not so bad.
The other prayed please give me grace, this is the man that went out of the temple with riches.
Some pray with their hands open towards the sky, this means they want to receive something. This is not the way to pray, we must confess that we are dependent on him and ask him for help.”
In preparing for holy communion, the Chief Apostle said if you have anything against anyone, forgive them so that your father in heaven may forgive you. “Jesus wants us to know the importance of forgiveness. He measures this by what we are willing to sacrifice in order to find grace. We measure this by forgiving our neighbour. We do anything that’s possible and even what is impossible to forgive our neighbour.”
The Chief Apostle also placed Apostle Michael Dimba from North Rand District in Gauteng into retirement. “You have been a true apostle and servant of God and you just did it. We are thankful for that. You have been a wonderful blessing for God’s people, a true ambassador of Jesus Christ. You have a wonderful knowledge of Jesus because you have experienced his grace and love. Your motivation was not to show your knowledge but the intention was to share the knowledge of Jesus.”
Below is a gallery of some images shared by Apostle Michael Dimba’s daughter, Lungi, who attends Midrand congregation with her family.