7711 - Cleansing the Temple

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Join us for a study in God’s Word today as we talk about Jesus asserting his authority over the Temple there in Jerusalem.

Let me read Luke 19:45-48.

Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. "It is written," he said to them, "‘My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it `a den of robbers.' Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.”

This was not the first recorded incident in which Jesus demonstrated his wrath against those who dared to turn the Temple into a place of business instead of the holy place of prayer and worship.

In John (2:13-22) we read of Jesus cleaning out the Temple in similar fashion during his attendance at his first Passover during his ministry. John’s account is much more descriptive. He tells of men selling cattle, sheep and doves along with carrying out the banking procedures necessary for business; and this was in the Temple courts, within the Temple compound. Jesus made a whip out of cords and drove the animals outside, away from the Temple area. He scattered the coins of the money changers, overturning their tables. He said, “Get these out of here! How dare you to turn my Father’s house into a market.”

Such action seems to stun the religious leaders. It is obvious that they had some part in this enterprise or else these businessmen would not have been permitted into the temple courtyard with their wares.

Of course the leaders appeared on the scene to challenge Jesus, and ask who gave Jesus authority to conduct this cleansing?

Someone might ask why were all these animals there in the Temple area? This was a business of convenience. The people needed animals to offer as sacrifice for their sins. It was much easier to buy an animal here and take it directly to the priest as an offering, than having to go into the city market or to the countryside to acquire a fitting animal.

A consideration of cross references tell us the religious leaders were furious with Jesus for interrupting this process.

This was one reason, which stimulated the religious leaders to seek a means of killing Jesus. As the years of his ministry continued the offenses mounted and here in the Temple, in the last week of the life of Jesus, these leaders are more committed to killing him they every. It is written that they feared that the people would riot so they purposed to wait until after the Passover feast (Mt. 26:3-5) to carry out their plan.

Notice the convictions within Jesus totally different from those within these religious leaders.

The Bible tells us (2 Chron. 19:7) that, “with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.” This was the ruling attitude within Jesus because the very fullness of the Godhead dwelt within Him (Col. 2:9). Jesus knew the Law of God established the Temple as a place of holiness and worship. Never would he tolerate a compromise of godly principle.

Not so with the religious leaders. They were involved in deception. Outwardly, before the people, they did whatever appeared to be right and holy, but their lives were selfish and unloving. Jesus censured them “that not one of you keeps the law.” (John 7:19.

So the purpose of Jesus clashed with the attitudes and habits of the Jewish leaders. But these Jewish leaders were afraid — afraid of the people because most of the people honored Jesus and were spellbound by his teachings.

However, the life of Jesus was not directed by the religious leaders. Even before the world was created Father God had predestined Jesus to be the one to bear the sins of all people (1 Pet. 1:20). It was in the fullness of God’s timetable that Jesus was born, so his life would serve its purpose by God’s timing — not by the schemes of the religious leaders.

We are so glad that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and was willing to pay the penalty for sin. Now we may chose life through faith in Jesus Christ.