“Jesus entered the temple courts 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
“God is more concerned about your heart than your performance. If your heart is right, your performance will eventually catch up.” Joyce Meyer
- Hello, friends! For the next seven studies, we are learning about how Jesus spent the last week before His crucifixion. We continue our study with Monday, the day Jesus cleared the temple. Take a moment to thank God for today’s blessings. Thank Him that He gave you the time and opportunity to seek Him today. Ask Him to bless your study and draw you closer to Him.
- Read Matthew 21:12-17. Recall the previous study on Palm Sunday: Jesus’ humble yet glorious entrance into Jerusalem.
The Jewish Temple was much more significant to the Israelites than church buildings are to modern Christians. Perhaps that is why Jesus drastically clearing the temple seems so inappropriate and out of character. The temple in Jerusalem was the sacred place that housed the very Spirit of God. It was glorious and beautiful, demonstrating what a magnificent privilege it is to personally connect with the Almighty God. That is exactly why Jesus’ actions were not only appropriate but very necessary. This building was symbolic of the Spirit’s modern temple—our hearts. The Israelites traveled to the Temple in Jerusalem to connect with their Creator, but our bodies are the new temple, where the Spirit of God lives and works (1 Corinthians 6:19).
It is a bit frightening to imagine Jesus zealously overturning tables. Here, He doesn’t seem to be the gentle, merciful Lamb we see throughout the New Testament. His zeal abolishes injustice and corruption. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). He was ensuring that only God was being served and worshipped in that place. In clearing God’s temple of everything that was not godly, Jesus was making room for God’s Kingdom on earth.
After the temple was clear, Jesus had room to bring miraculous healing and peace and a taste of the God who is love. The Jews had been taught that the Messiah came to end injustice, but most people expected it to be at the governmental level. They knew He would come to set them free as Moses had done generations before; however, they anticipated a Savior who would overthrow and replace the oppressive Roman government. Instead, Jesus chose a different route to justice by removing sin and corruption from within His Temple, His Church. It is ironic to think that the people anticipated the Almighty God using His power to overturn the great Caesar. Instead, He bestowed that power on twelve ordinary men, the apostles, and changed the world through them.
During Easter, we are reminded of Jesus’ tremendous love and sacrifice for us. We should also remember why that sacrifice was necessary: to erase sin and brokenness that would have otherwise kept us from Our Holy Father’s kingdom.
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- What changes are you hoping for or working for in your life? Are you relying on God to guide you to the place you want to be?
- What sinful behaviors or negative thoughts are keeping you from progress?
- Pray that God will open your eyes to His work in your life. Also, pray that God will help you to see His presence and recognize when He is guiding you.
Discuss this lesson with your kids. I like to have discussions in the car because I have a captive audience with minimal distractions. This lesson will work well in the car because the radio is easily accessible.
- Tell your children about Holy Week. Tell them about Jesus clearing the temple before He began His miraculous work. Explain why it was necessary for Jesus to overturn the tables.
- Tell them you are going to play “Simon Says” (you need to be Simon). Tell them to do silly things like, “rub your belly and pat your head” or “shake your head around.”
- Turn on the radio and continue giving commands without raising your voice. No one will be able to hear your commands over the radio.
- Turn the radio down or off so that everyone can hear you give a few more commands.
Explain to your children that God’s voice is like your voice in “Simon Says.” God does not leave us or give up on guiding us. He is always there for His children, but we can fill our lives with other habits, sin, or media that stand in the way of God’s still, small voice (just as the vendors stood in the way of Israelites meeting with God). The solution is easy though! Simply figure out what is blocking God’s voice, remove it from your life, and refocus on God.