3 - Temple Trouble
Reading: Isaiah 56:1-12 Matthew 21:12–22, Mark 11:15–19, Luke 19:45-48 [paralleled]
Content: Jesus taught in the Temple for 3 days during His final week. On Monday morning, Jesus returned with his disciples to Jerusalem and went straight to the Temple. Of course, Jerusalem was bursting at the seams with people because of the Passover. There were conservatively anywhere from 80 to a 100 thousand pilgrims, merchants, thieves and politicians in the city from all over the world.
It was no accident that Jesus is in the Temple that Monday morning. The Court of the Gentiles (outer court) was a maze of money changers and black-market merchants. Jesus saw the money changers game, along with the merchants who were selling animals for sacrifice (at a higher price). Pilgrims carried coins from their home cities, most bearing the images of Roman emperors or Greek gods, which Temple authorities were supposed to have considered idolatrous and forbidden in the Temple.
But the High Priest were now using all of this as a way to make money and gain wealth. By ordering that only Tyrian shekels be accepted for the annual half-shekel Temple tax because they contained a higher percentage of silver, the money changers could then exchange unacceptable coins for these shekels. Of course, they made a large profit and, the house got paid (Temple Priests). Jesus knew that all of it was more than what Hebrew Commerce Law allowed for.
Mark, Luke, and Matthew all give account that Jesus was so filled with anger at the desecration of Temple Court that he handmade himself a whip with some cords and began dumping tables, pulling down booths, and emptying coin coffers out on the ground. His voice, his actions, and his authority had to be so aggressive that it pushed the exchangers out of the court area. Jesus also prevented people from using the temple court (Solomon’s Porch area) as a “cut-through” to get from the east to the westside of the city quicker. A lot of powerful and bad people got pushed around that day – now there was “temple trouble.” But the common people were impressed by Jesus' teaching, and how He stood up to the corruption of the temple priests and scribes – it made Him for the moment, very popular. The Priests feared Jesus for that reason. They began to plot a way to destroy Him. Change was coming for the temple, but before it came - there would trouble.
Here is something to think about; 40 years from the time Jesus cleansed the Temple, the Romans would invade Jerusalem (during the Jewish revolt) and level the building completely in 3 days. It would never be rebuilt. Today on its location on the Temple Mount is the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim mosque. Where is the Temple now?
Meditation: Take a few moments to visually see yourself as scripture says… “you are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you. God’s temple is Holy, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16, 18) What does that look and feel like to you? Is it well with your soul - or is there “temple trouble”?
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