Reading: Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-48,
“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Matthew 21:12-13
I have seen and heard that this event could have happened on Sunday or Monday of Holy Week. The most important thing is it is a significant event that took place during this Holy Week. So it definitely bears studying. When I read the book of Matthew it appeared it happened on Sunday following the Triumphal Entry. However, in Mark it reads as if it was Monday.
Jesus enters the temple and begins to drive people out of the temple who were buying and selling goods. God intended for the temple to be a place of prayer, a place where we go to cleanse our hearts. The temple of the Old Testament was the place where the people came to get atonement for their sins. Yet somehow over time, it had become a place where people could sell their goods and merchandise. Where was the breakdown? When did things change from the house of prayer to a marketplace. No doubt Jesus knew before He entered the temple that this was taking place, it was no surprise to Him when He stepped foot inside. However, He takes this time to get angry, to point out to the people that this was not the intended use for the temple. Jesus words “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” In Mark, the quote of Jesus was more complete and lines up more directly with the reference to Isaiah 56:7. “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.?” (Mark 11:17) This area of the temple was for all people, Jews and Gentiles alike. And it was as far as the Gentiles could go inside the temple. Because of the activity going on in the temple, there was no way that the people could come in and pray.
It is also important to note that he was just as angry at those who were buying as He was at those who were selling. It matters the state of our hearts when we go to the house of God. Yes, the leaders of our churches as well as the Jewish leaders of the day bear a load of maintaining a holy reverence in our churches. However, Jesus didn’t look at the buyers as innocent. The same goes for today. I have heard someone say to me once that they left a church because they were not being “fed”. And it may have been true, it is not my place to judge. However, it is also our responsibility to be sure that our hearts are in a place to be fed when we enter the church doors. The buyers are just as guilty as the sellers. Let’s examine our hearts today. Let’s look and see the state of our hearts as we study this Holy Week. The cool thing about studying the scriptures is He has a word for each of us that will meet us right where we are. As you read the scriptures use this as a guide but ask Him what He wants to teach you today. What He wants to teach you this week.