Jesus Cleanses the Temple
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.”
And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise’?”
And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.
Soon after Jesus entered Jerusalem on the donkey we get this story.
Again it is a popular part of the narrative in the events of Holy Week and one of the events that Messers Lloyd Webber and Rice dramatise well in their musical re-telling of the Holy Week story. Their interpretation of the theology is rubbish but for entertainment its enjoyable enough!
Anyway, what is it that stands out for you when you read this passage?
Maybe it’s the violence of the act? In one version from the pother gospels Jesus forms a whip to assist Him in his cleansing of the temple, so this is no polite and orderly request for the traders and customers to vacate.
Maybe it’s the healings. There is probably much that can be gleaned from this, much sermon material about how the traders were there to profit and possible “con” the customers, yet Jesus freely gives of His power and Love? Maybe!
Maybe it’s the reference to the OT by Jesus a little odd maybe of Matthew to have reimbursed this part of the speech when and I think it is Luke who recounts that Jesus the disciples recalled that the OT makes reference to “zeal for thy house shall consume him” (I paraphrase so please don’t criticise me too much). To my simple mind the zeal quote is much more apt to the situation, but hey, there must be a reason why Matthew here recounts these words of Jesus.
What stand out to me, presently at least, is the contrast between the words fo the author, “the many wonderful things that he did” against the attitude of the religious leaders of the time “they were indignant”.
What if anything can we learn from this?
In our men’s bible study on Saturday mornings (at 7:00 pm Saturday mornings when there is no lockdown or at 7:30 online at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic ask me for mor details if you are interested in joining in), we looked this week, in part, at spiritual pride. Or knowledge that puffs up.
The leaders here clearly were suffering from a big dose of that! Here was Jesus doing many wonderful things. Healing, blessing giving sight to the blind, helping the lame to walk and probably lots of other things as well, and all the leaders could do was look on indignantly!
HOWEVER, before we get on our own moral/spiritual high horses, I encourage you, and me (because if you didn’t realise this by now, most of what I write in these posts are actually for my own edification and if they speak to or bless you then that is a bonus), let us pause and take time to consider how many times have I looked indignantly upon a brother (or sister) and in my mind have though “pah” or worse?
To be brutally honest far too many times.
So now, I am going to take myself off to a quiet place and think on this a little I hope I come out the other end a better person.