Summary: God's house should be respected and used properly.
A Messiah's House
Text: Matt. 21:12-17
1. Illustration: Most of you know, but some may not, that when Tina and I bought our house a few years ago, it was the first house we had ever owned. To us it is a very special place that we are proud of it. If anyone were to try and break it to or harm our house we would be very upset, and might even be driven to violence.
2. That gives us an idea of how Jesus must have felt when he walked into the Temple that day and found His Father's house being disgraced.
3. The house of God should be...
a. House of Prayer
b. House of Miracles
c. House of Praise
4. Read Matt. 21:12-17
Proposition: God's house should be respected and used properly.
Transition: First, God's house should be a...
I. House of Prayer (12-13).
A. House of Prayer
1. The last week before Jesus' crucifixion starts out with a bang, both figuratively and literally.
First, he rides into Jerusalem with great commotion, so much so, that the city literally shook like an earthquake was happening.
Now we see him come into the Temple, and let's just say, he stirs things up!
2. Matthew tells us, "Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves."
a. The Passover was approaching and Jews from all over the world were required to come to Jerusalem.
b. Old Testament law required visitors to the feast to purchase their sacrifices in Jerusalem, hence sellers of doves and other sacrificial animals were necessary.
c. Because visitors would come with foreign currencies—even most Galilean towns had their own coinage—moneychangers had also become necessary (Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
d. Jesus cleansed the temple twice; the first time appears in John 2 and took place at the beginning of his public ministry.
e. This second cleansing is a picture of judgment of the unrepentant Jews.
f. Business transactions in the temple were necessary because of the sacrificial offerings and the temple tax.
g. The godlessness in the temple was not so much that money was changing hands or that things were being sold, but it was because the priests were using their high position as a means to get rich, often at the expense of the poor (Horton, 445).
h. According to the Jewish-Christian historian Alfred Edersheim, a person would often have to pay as much as ten times what an animal normally cost.
i. As if that extortion were not enough, those who needed to have foreign currency exchanged or who had to have their money converted into the exact amount for an offering were charged a twenty-five percent fee (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 16-23).
3. As you might imagine, seeing all of this filled Jesus with righteous anger. He told them, "The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
a. As He often did, Jesus vindicated what He was doing by appealing to the Old Testament, here quoting from Isaiah 56:7, "My house shall be called a house of prayer."
b. Following the full Isaiah text, Mark's quotation includes the phrase "for all the nations" (Mark 11:17).
c. Matthew omits those words probably because he was writing primarily to Jews. But the major point in both accounts is that Jesus' cleansing of the Temple was consistent with the Word of God.
d. The Temple was to be a place of worship, a place where God's people could draw close to Him in worship, sacrifice, and offerings and could seek His will and blessing.
e. It was not meant to be a combination marketplace, stockyard, and bank, where hucksters and charlatans carried on their greedy enterprises under the guise of Serving and worshiping the Lord (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 16-23).
f. The problem was not that the noise was interfering with worship but the fact that the sacredness of the temple was being ignored by the way business was being conducted.
g. The phrase "den of thieves" is not where robbery takes place but where the thieves live (Horton, 445).
h. They were taking the place where God resides and making it a place where criminals reside.
i. This was not why the Temple was built, and Jesus anger was justified.
1. Illustration: "The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God's standing challenge, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!'" (J. Hudson Taylor)