Cleansing The Temple

Remember the story of Jesus cleansing the temple. According to John, Jesus just came from raising Lazarus from the dead. He was riding a donkey colt on the Jericho road going down into the valley to his final destination where a number of prophets came into contact with the wrath of wicked men. Knowing what was going to happen over the next week he was thinking about the men he had sent over the years to this city and how they had been rejected and killed. As he rode closer towards the city, people were throwing Palm branches on the road giving him a triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Their hopes were to make him king by force and set up his kingdom without the knowledge of Godís plan to reconcile man to God. When he arrived he went straight into the temple to inspect his fathers house for leaven. Not liking what he saw he retired for the night.

That night Jesus prayerfully considered the matter and the following day headed back to Jerusalem. On his way he hungered and seeing a fig tree off in the distance went to it for something to eat. When he arrived he found the fig tree with out figs. He knew what he had to do and more than likely he was not in the best mood cursed the tree, which later withered and died. He resumed his trek to the temple to remove the den of thieves who were infesting the temple with leaven, He was not concerned why these men were there or that they had the approval of the governing body of Priests to sell. Making a whip of cords of what was readily available he began upset exchange tables and to drive those who were more concerned with making a living than for prayer. However, the Passover week did coincide with the feast of leaven bread.

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'" Matthew 21:12-13
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area 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

Before we go further into this article I would like you to take special notice of Christís actions. His zeal was for his fatherís house but he his wrath was centered on the cause of the leaven found within the temple. Christ displayed his anger in a righteous manner after prayerfully thinking the matter over with his father. Jesus Christ gave a personal demonstration of what the common Israelite was to do with their own homes. No leaven was to be found where they lived. When you consider what he did you will notice that he dealt with the portion of his fatherís house that had leaven. You see, robbers and thieves are there for the money and not for prayer,

Even Christ found living in a godly manner difficult when people who were trained from childhood to care for house of God failed miserably. They were proud of their heritage and used their stature in a manner to gain wealth for the elite. The actions of Jesus Christ must have affected the synagogue as some of the priests followed his teaching while the rest of the world was too busy with the affairs of the life. Perhaps the number of priests from the synagogue that followed Christ began to grow and the temple leadership may have feared that Christ would ultimately destroy their power base.

During the Passover week the temple priests asked Jesus by whose authority are you doing these things. God is slow to anger and abundant in love. With all this hatred for what Christ was doing in the temple he responded in love and told the temple priest why whose authority he drove out the Money Changers.

"Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. "The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son,' he said. "But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.' So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time." Matt 21:33-41

What about the money Changers? Whenever Israel was numbered, every male over the age of twenty had to pay a half-shekel tax into the treasury and by law had to be an exact amount. The money exchangers were men who sold half-shekel coins for an exorbitant price especially when that coin was not in general circulation. In addition the MoneyChangers sold an preauthorized version of sacrificial animals to those having the need to sacrifice or have fellowship with God. They kept a supply of sacrificial animals especially approved for sacrifice use on hand and sold them to people who came great distances to sacrifice. These men put Jesus zeal for his fatherís house and his sense of right and wrong on edge because they were not in the temple on Godís business. This had to have been painful to Christ.

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" John 2:13-16

You donít necessary have to exchange money for services to be involved with leaven in Godís sight. Sometimes taking advantage of God or desiring to have Godís power more than fellowship with God is leaven in Godís sight. Isnít that covetousness or craving the things God has? Most Christians want the power of God to live the Christian life, but fail to make the time to develop a personal relationship with God. In the same way they want to go to heaven when they die and go there by living the kind of life they want and consider good.




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