By Colleen Donahue

A little history is needed to understand what prompted Jesus to take the action described in our study today but first it would be helpful if you'd read Matthew 21:12-17.

This incident happened in the Court of the Gentiles into which anyone could come. It wasn't that trading was going on but HOW it was being done that provoked Jesus to act. The money changer tables could have been a good service for Jews coming in for the Passover from all parts of the land. Every Jew had to pay a half shekel for the temple tax due around Passover time. Any unsuitable currency had to be changed into the correct currency. To provide this service money changers charged pilgrims a half a day's wage thus making big profits.

Then there were the booths selling doves and lambs. Everyone coming to the temple usually needed an offering of some kind. They could buy these offerings at stalls outside the temple but they risked having it rejected inside if it wasn't without blemish or absolutely perfect. Therefore stalls were available inside with "guaranteed perfect offerings". However, they came at a price -- a greatly inflated price!

We must be clear that the service of money changing or selling offerings wasn't bad. Jesus was reacting to the exploitation of pilgrims. He hated the greed and profiteering that drove these services under the name of religion. It was therefore ......


Time To Clean House

Studies continued from Matthew 21: 12-17 / Mark 11: 15-18 / Luke 19: 45-48 / John 2: 15-17

Day 1- For us to get a further picture of why Christ reacted so strongly, we must look at what the Temple was meant to be for God and men.

A. It was to be the place where God lived and where His glory dwelled.
Psalm 26:8 / Psalm 122:1

B. It was a place to meet God and seek Him.
Psalm 27:4

C. It would be a place where men could dwell with God to worship and praise Him.
Psalm 84:4 / Luke 24: 52-53

D. It was a refuge for men.
Isaiah 37:1

E. It was to be a place of learning for ALL men.
Micah 4:2

F. It was to be a place of comfort in old age.
Luke 2: 36-37

G. It was to be a place where God would put His name forever and therefore His presence.
2 Chronicles 33:7

Day 2- Then we need to see that over the course of centuries men polluted the temple. Read in these verses how men acted to pollute this holy place.
2 Chronicles 36:14 / Jeremiah 7:30 / Ezekiel 8:15-16 / Ezekiel 44: 7-8 / Zephaniah 3:4

Day 3- Sacrileges (the violation of something sacred) had happened. Read about just a few.
Leviticus 10:1 / 1 Samuel 2:12-17 / 2 Kings 21: 4-7 / 2 Chronicles 24:7 / 2 Chronicles 26: 16-21

Therefore by the time Christ stepped into the main temple in Jerusalem business exploitations had probably become the norm.

Day 4- What motivated Jesus causing Him to speak and act so forcefully?
Psalm 69:9 / John 2:17

Day 5- By what authority did Jesus take action in the temple?
Matthew 28:18 / John 5: 26-27

Notice Jesus didn't speak His own opinion but quoted the Old Testament.
Jeremiah 7: 11

Day 6- With the right motivation and authority Jesus acted. Take the time to list from all the gospels exactly what He did.
Matthew 21: 12 / Mark 11: 15-16 / Luke 19:45 / John 2: 14-16

Day 7- If we've had the false notion that Jesus would never speak or act strongly, this event dispels that. The love He had for His Father and for the common man knew no bounds.
John 13:1 / John 15:9, 13 / 1 John 3:16

His anger was especially toward those who exploited in the name of religion and those who made it impossible for simple people to pray and seek God in the temple. Because this happened in the "court of the Gentiles" we must remember that possibly the Gentiles were there trying to find God.

Day 8- What resulted from the Lord's anger?
Matthew 21:14-15 / Mark 11:18 / Luke 19:47-48 / John 2:18

Day 9- We see now that the line is drawn clearly between those who love Jesus and the religious right that are now plotting Christ's death. Even today men and women either love and obey Jesus or they ignore and eventually oppose Him. We cannot remain neutral in regards to the Son of God. What happens when we disregard Jesus?
Matthew 24:12

What happens when we love and obey Him?
Revelations 3:5-6

Day 10- These righteous leaders displayed the behavior of a bigot or one that is intolerant of others. What results from bigotry?

A. A bigot wants to stop another person from acting in their liberty. They would have stopped Jesus from healing in the temple. They would have stopped the people from gathering to listen. They would have stopped the children from praising God out loud.
Numbers 11: 27-29

B. Bigots become indignant or angry because of something they see as unjust. These Pharisees had set their own rules and standards and Christ wasn't following them.
Matthew 21:15-16

C. Bigots commit murder. It might be physical murder or emotional murder, but the results are the death of a person as they live now.
Judges 12:5-6 / Luke 19:47

Day 11- William Barclay (commentator) points out that the destructive force of anger must always go hand in hand with the healing power of love. And so we see that after the guilty have all fled, there remains those in need who can now come to Jesus for healing. The heavy "religious" atmosphere changes to one of praise and joy.
Matthew 21: 14-16

Personal Application of The Cleansing of the Temple

Day 12 - Before the appearance of the Son of God here on earth God made His home in the temple -- a physical place. But after Christ's Resurrection (the ultimate triumph over sin and death) this is no longer the case.
Acts 17: 24

Day 13- After Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven, Jesus was now back at home with His Father. But He made it quite clear that because He had transcended the limitations of having one physical body He was now free to be with men on earth everywhere (no longer just in one place). Where does Jesus make His home today here on earth?
1 Corinthians 3:16 / 1 Corinthians 6:19 / 2 Corinthians 6:16

Day 14- Christ could not make our lives His temple before His death for two reasons. The first is obvious. He had one physical body and could only be in one place at a time. What is the second reason?
Proverbs 20:9 / Romans 3:23 / 1 John 1:8

Day 15- The Law had been given to men by God through Moses and it succeeded in showing clearly that all men were sinners by nature. The more men tried to obey the law and clean up their own lives (so they could approach God) the more they failed.
Romans 3: 20 / Romans 7:7 / Galatians 3:22-24

Day 16- With all men and women in a hopeless state before God, we were beyond cleaning up. Because of the choices of our first parents, sin is woven into the fabric of everyday life and its outcome is always the same.
Romans 5:12

Day 17- But death means more than just physical death. For man, there is a great divide from His Creator and this is spiritual death.
Isaiah 59:2 / Isaiah 64: 6-7 / Hosea 5:6

Day 18- If all men are sinners and condemned to die, then it stands to reason that men can't fix the situation. And this is where God Himself stepped in to act on our behalf.
Luke 2:11

Day 19- He sent us His Son Jesus. What was to be His purpose in coming to earth?
Luke 19:10 / John 3: 16-17 / 1 Timothy 1:15

Day 20- Jesus, willingly took into Himself all of man's sin, disease, and the curse of death. He died as our substitute.
Isaiah 53: 5, 12 / Romans 5:6

Day 21- Christ's death in place of our own had profound meaning -- both for Himself and all of us. From these verses list all that resulted.
2 Corinthians 5: 15 / 1 Peter 2:24 / 1 Peter 3: 18 / 1 John 3:5

Day 22- But Christ's death was much more than just a substitution. God saw the hopeless state of all men and in one cosmic miracle He put ALL OF US into His Son on the cross to not only die with Him but to be raised to life with Him.
Romans 6: 4-6 / 2 Timothy 2:11

You might object and ask, "How can an event that took place over 2,000 years ago affect me today? As I thought about this question I saw it's principle at work in governments. I am an American citizen. I have been able to live my life to the fullest because I am equal (as a human being) with other Americans and I have been allowed to make choices for my life. The reason I could live this way was because a document called the Declaration of Independence was signed unanimously on July 4, 1776. It declared from that day to this day that "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL MEN are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

At the time of my writing this, 231 years have passed since the document was signed. When our founding fathers signed it they were reaching forward to centuries of citizens that would be called Americans. Now if men are able to reach forward into time how much more God?

Day 23- What has resulted from this miracle of being put into Jesus to be part of His death and resurrection? From these verses make your own list.
Romans 6: 7-11 / 2 Corinthians 5:17 / Colossians 2:13 / Colossians 3:3 / Galatians 2:20

Day 24- If the remedy has been given for ALL mankind why is there still so much sin and evil left in this world?
John 3: 18-20

Day 25- We have the choice to stay in the prison of his own choosing since God has made us with free will. This brings us back to the cleansing of the temple. In the cleansing of the temple incident Jesus enters the Court of the Gentiles along with all the other pilgrims freely. But now, with our lives as His temple He comes in ONLY BY OUR INVITATION!
John 1:12 / Revelations 3:20

Day 26- It is only because of Christ's death for us that it's even possible for us to invite Him into the temple of our life. Why? Because the Son of God and sin cannot dwell together. It's because He took you and I into Himself on the cross that our old sin nature (inherited from our first parents) was destroyed or more accurately "rendered inoperative". We can still sin but now, we are free NOT to sin, and we have the power to do so.
Romans 6: 6-7

Day 27- In Christ we were REMADE to be a completely new person. We may still look and sound the same but we are not! Our death with Jesus was followed by our resurrection into a new life.
Romans 6:8 / 2 Corinthians 5:17 / Ephesians 2: 4-7

With our original , flawed sin nature destroyed we are now free to live a life pleasing to God.

Side Note:
The original SIN (singular) that we inherit from our first parents and the committing of SINS (plural) later on might be compared to a building. Our original SIN made the actual structure of our "house" unsound. In a physical house structure this means the supporting beams holding up the house are rotten or faulty in some way. That's why God had to destroy us (our old nature) in His Son and remake us. But even a well structured house may accumulate dust and dirt from the outside. And so our new life (created in Christ Jesus) may have the dirt of sins committed later (by wrong choices) even while our "house" structure is sound.

Day 28- Now, here's the question for us. If we decide to invite Jesus to make His home in our heart (in the temple of our life) do we need to clean it up first BEFORE inviting him in? The answer is NO and even if we try we cannot.

WHEN does it say that we were made alive with Christ?
Ephesians 2: 1, 5a / Colossians 2:13

WHERE is light to be found?
John 8:12 / 1 John 1:5

WHAT makes everything visible to us regarding our own life?
2 Corinthians 4:6 / Ephesians 5:14

Day 29- We cannot see our own sin by looking inside of ourselves because sin "keeps us in the dark". We are blind to our own faults and failings.
Proverbs 4:19 / Isaiah 59: 9-10

Day 30- It is ONLY when we allow Jesus Christ to come in from the outside that He can shine His light and see what needs to be dealt with first. So when we invite Him into our temple we are giving Him permission to overturn some tables. However hard it might be, what must be our prayer?
Psalm 139: 23-24

Day 31- Things you never gave a second thought to will become repulsive to you and things you never thought were wrong will be challenged. You might think your smoking will be the first thing that needs to go, but Christ's light may shine first on your sarcastic, complaining tongue that is causing the accumulation of dirt piles in your life. With your invitation to Jesus to dwell in your temple He will begin to change you from the inside out. Only God has the skill to analyze and judge the thoughts and actions of our life. He is skillful and will expose all that needs to be seen in the light.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 / 1 Corinthians 4:5 / Hebrews 4: 12-13

Day 32- Our own pharisaical ideas of religion and justice will be turned upside down and we'll start to see the things that really matter in God's sight.
Deuteronomy 10:12 / Ecclesiastes 12:13 / Hosea 6:6 / Micah 6:8 / Mark 12:33

Day 33- An invitation to receive Jesus Christ is an invitation for upheaval in our lives as we know it. It will mean radical change -- but, we won't face it alone. We will have a helper the entire time.
Isaiah 30:21 / Isaiah 41:10 / Isaiah 42:16 / Isaiah 50:9a / John 14:16-17, 23, 26

Day 34- It will mean a life that will change from SELF being in charge to Jesus Christ being in charge.
Galatians 2:20

Day 35- It will result in a life that is cleansed from past sin, and a life free to NOT keep sinning.
Isaiah 43:25 / Isaiah 44:22 / Isaiah 55:7 / 1 John 1:9 / 1 John 3:6,9

Day 36- For the first time we'll live without mixed motives and without hypocrisy. We will be what the Bible calls "pure in heart". What reward is given to the pure in heart?
Matthew 5:8
"Seeing God" means that God will give us spiritual wisdom and insights about Himself.

Day 37-We become more and more like a child -- totally dependent upon Jesus. We realize that we are nothing and God is everything. All that we are and have come from Him.
Psalm 116:6 / John 3:27 / John 15:5 / 2 Corinthians 3:5

Day 38- The heavy burden of life itself is now on His shoulders and we are free to skip through life like the children praising God in the temple.
Matthew 11: 28-30 / Hebrews 13:15 / 1 Peter 2:9-10

Day 39- A life cleansed from sin and self rule is a temple fit for the Son of God to dwell. He will do the work. Our part is to invite Him in and then to cooperate with Him.
1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 / 2 Corinthians 2:14 / 2 Corinthians 4: 7-11 / Ephesians 2:19-22

Will you invite Jesus to come into your temple for cleaning?

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