Holy Monday, April 11, 2022

12 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those who were selling doves. 13 “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.’”

14 The blind and the lame came to Him at the temple, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things He did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. 16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked Him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

                “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”

17 And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where He spent the night.

Matthew 21:12-17 (NIV84)

Jerusalem was a busy place. Thousands had traveled there to celebrate Passover. The city had overflowed into the surrounding communities, and, again, there was no room at the inn. Jesus left the city at night and stayed in Bethany. But, in the morning, he returned to everyone’s focus, the Temple.

The Temple of God in Jerusalem was high and lifted-up, literally. It stood on a hill, and, as you approached it’s walls, you went up. As you entered each court you went up. The highest place was the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle where God’s presence appeared. There, one could find peace and forgiveness and hope. But, unfortunately, that was not what Jesus found when He entered the temple that day.

He found a marketplace where they were changing money and selling animals intended for sacrifice, not realizing the perfect sacrifice had just entered the Temple. What was Jesus’ reaction?

So He made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

John 2:15 (NIV84)

Jesus was indignant. His Father’s house was to be a place of prayer and worship, and they had turned it into a den of thieves. In His righteous anger, He kicked them all out. Then, He continued ministering to those in need. He healed the blind and lame who came to Him while the praise of the children rang out saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David”.

We no longer have the Temple in Jerusalem. It was destroyed nearly 2000 years ago, but we still have Jesus. And we have His church, the body of Christ, who meets to pray and worship and serve. But what about the temple? Well, it has become new – in fact, we are the temple.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV84)

How does that make you feel? Is God’s temple in you a house of prayer? Were you aware that God’s Spirit lives in you?

As we approach Easter, it is a good time to consider God’s temple in us. Maybe, there are some things that need to be driven out. Or, maybe, someOne is to be let in.

From the first dramatic demonstrations of Jesus’ miracle-working power, the crowds wanted to take Him by force and make Him king (John 6:15). Their intent, of course, was for Him to be a king of their own liking who would fulfill their own aspirations of deliverance from the yoke of Rome. But the Lord consistently refused to be that kind of king and perform that kind of deliverance. His coronation processional into Jerusalem the day before was marked by simplicity rather than pomp – humility rather than splendor. He was not accompanied by influential dignitaries and a powerful army but by unarmed, powerless nobodies, just as He had predicted.

18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death 19 and will turn Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!”

Matthew 20:18-19 (NIV84)

Jesus did not come as a military, economic, political, or social savior from injustice and oppression. These are not man’s greatest problem; our greatest problem is sin. Jesus came as the spiritual Savior from sin and death.

He would soon demonstrate that “He had come not to reign but to die, not to be crowned but to be crucified, and not for the purpose of delivering Israel from the power of Rome but of delivering all men from the power of sin.”[1]

His second coming will deal with all those other problems, but, before He comes as King of kings and Lord of lords, He had to come as Savior.

So, I leave you on this Monday of Holy Week to consider something for yourself: is He my Savior?

[1] John F. MacArthur Jr., Matthew, Volume 3, MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1988), 266.

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