And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. (Luke 4:15 NASB)
...do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary." So they started with the elders who were before the temple. (Ezekiel 9:6 NASB)
Centuries before the arrival of Messiah, Ezekiel had a vision of the destruction of Jerusalem. In it, he saw a man dressed in linen (priestly garments) with a writing case (Lamb's Book of Life) at his side. (Ezekiel 9:1-6) The man in linen (Jesus, our Great High Priest) was instructed to go through the city (Jerusalem) and put a mark on every one of those "who sigh and groan over all the abominations being committed in its midst". The mark would protect them from destruction. He was to start at the temple, where the people who say they belong to God, have assembled. Judgement was coming, the vision said, and it would begin at the House of God.
The man in linen clearly marked all those who were His... He missed no one, because He had the writing case and could be assured of who was to receive His mark. He began at the temple, where, we might presume, a preponderance of God's people would be gathered. Surely God's House of Prayer would be filled with people who sigh and groan over sin. Here is the sobering reality. It was not.
The temple, God's House of Prayer, was not full of people mourning both individual and corporate sin. It was filled with people, but they were doing something else, and the price for that "something else" was destruction.
Pause and consider.
What would we be found doing in the House of Prayer? Would our prayers of repentance be remarkable if the Man in Linen appeared?
Jesus started His ministry in the synagogues, where God's people were, because that is where He always starts. (Ezekiel 9, Revelation 7). He was looking for hearts that cared about sin and righteousness, and He still is.
Today, as we pray, let us spend time in prayer, confessing not only our own sin and that of our loved ones, but also that of our nation. Make sure that the heart God finds in us is a heart of humble and repentant prayer.