You can listen to the full message here:-
Our King Jesus Having Authority
Only recently has Jesus ridden into town on the colt … the foal of a donkey.
The action caused huge excitement.
Some people were cutting branches off palm trees and laying them on the ground.
Others were taking of their good cloaks and letting the donkey walk over them.
The crowds were yelling joyfully.
Blessed is the King
Glory in the Highest!
There are no two ways about it; Jesus is the most popular person in town.
Now we find him standing at the entrance of the temple.
As Jesus enters the temple He does so when it is the week of the Passover the yearly event which is a reminder of all that happened when the people of Israel made their Exodus out of Egypt.
It was a time of encouragement and deliberate preparations.
It was a celebration were you sacrificed the best offering.
But, as he stands at the temple that is not what Jesus sees.
Instead Jesus sees a monument to consumerism and expedience.
Worship has been pushed aside and the sellers and buyers have taken centre stage.
“Come to the market with your money”.
“Buy a sheep, a lamb, some doves”.
“Guaranteed to meet the sacrificial quality. Make a bargain; you'll save dollars”.
Sure, it looks like a generous offer, but look deeper.
Traders still need cover costs – you can only sell at the temple if you pay a levy.
It also provides convenience. No preparation needed, just a bit of cash.
And that is not all that is going on. You cannot pay the temple tax with Roman coins, or any foreign coins, because they are stamped with pagan symbols. Everyone had to pay their tax with Jewish coins. So a very lucrative business was being had by the money changers.
“Come to my money changing stand and I will give you a good rate of exchange”. It’s funny how rates of exchange seem to rapidly increase when unsuspecting Jews from far away countries come to buy their Jewish coins.
This is what greets Jesus as he stands at the temple.
Traders and sellers mocking the foundations of the temple as they raked in the profits.
Worshippers coming with less than pure motives hoping to make their sacrifice at a bargain price.
It all happens because the temple authorities want it this way.
This is the temple.
Not the inner courts where the sacrifices were made and where the priests worked.
We are still in the outer court.
It was the place where circumcised and non-circumcised worship and praised and prayed together. It was the place where teachers instructed students and converts to the faith. It was meant to be a place of reflection and peace.
It was the job of the temple leaders … the spiritual teachers … the Pharisees and Sadducees and Priests and Scribes … it was their job to make sure this is how the temple functioned.
They are not doing their job. Instead they have allowed the temple to become a place of consumerism, spiritual-short-cuts, and a hindrance for the people in their thankful worship to God.
Jesus is standing at the entrance of the temple.
“What is He here for?” “What is He going to do?”.
Open your Bible to Luke 19:45. We are going to read what Jesus does.
I can guarantee that no-one expected that to happen.
In the past Jesus has driven out demons from possessed people … with that same passion and authority He drives these people out of the temple court.
Turning over tables.
Pushing over chairs.
Doves are flying free all over the place.
Sheep and lambs run around in confused chaos chased by equally confused owners.
There are money-changers knelling all over the floor, scooping as many scattered coins as they can into the folds of their cloths.
We are not being exposed here to a religious fanatic gone mad – which is no doubt what the buyers and sellers and money-changers thought of Jesus. Rather this is our King who is determined to made sure we are not hindered as we seek our place in His kingdom.
We know this is the case because of what Jesus says.
It is written.
Jesus is in the temple … the peak institution where Scripture is taught.
The place where the best teachers and spiritual leaders gather.
In the temple there is no higher authority than Scripture.
It is written
This is the moment Jesus turns his attention to the ones who are responsible for allowing the temple to become a place on hindrance … the Pharisees and Sadducees and Priests and Scribes.
My house will be a house of prayer
Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 56:7. This is the bigger context:-
6 Foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
8 The Sovereign Lord declares—he who gathers the exiles of Israel: I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”
Jesus is using a Scripture which declares that those who are usually not allowed to be in the temple can be included. The way for a personal relationship with God will be opened.
Acceptance will be given to all and no-one will be excluded.
The fact that the money-changers and buyers and sellers are in temple … indeed they are set up in what is also known as the court of the Gentiles … is a hindrance.
Any Gentile coming to find God … well all they are going to find is a constant din of noise and interruptions. Instead of finding peace, they find a hindrance.
Jesus sees this and takes charge … bringing the temple back to its original use … to be a place of prayer.
It is written.
You have made it a den of robbers.
Jesus is quoting from Jeremiah 7:11. Again here is the context.
9 “‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.
14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors.
Jeremiah 7:9-11, 14
The event at Shiloh was in the days when Samuel the prophet was a boy. The Israelites had been defeated by the Philistines so they went to the tabernacle and got the ark of the covenant. But the Philistines won again and they took the ark captive.
The event meant that the Glory of the Lord had left the tabernacle.
Jesus reminds the leaders of this event.
“You are making the temple like a den of robbers, just as it was in the days of Jeremiah. You were taken away from the temple and the temple was destroyed.
At Shiloh God’s glory left the tabernacle.
When you went into exile God’s glory left the temple because it was destroyed.
You have made the temple a den of robbers - what do you think is going to happen to God’s glory?”
Do you see what Jesus is doing?
Jesus our King is laying down a challenge of authority against the spiritual leaders.
The temple is meant to be a place of acceptance for all … it is meant to be a house of prayer … but it is not.
The temple is where God’s glory is … until it becomes a den of robbers … which it now is.
That is what Jesus saw as He stood at the temple door.
Foreigners and outsiders are not welcome.
God Himself is not welcome.
The temple authorities are the cause of the problem.
So Jesus needs to take authority.
As furniture flies, and coins crash, and sheep scatter, and doves disappear, and people panic we see Jesus our King using His authority to pave the way for us to come into the Kingdom.
What is the result?
Well, the people love it.
Every day the people were coming to the temple and they hung on His words.
Why wouldn’t you?
You are accepted. You are welcomed. You know you have a place.
Finally you can go to the temple and experience what it is like to be in the presence of the glory of the Lord.
But the leaders hate it.
So much so they want to kill him. So much so they try and undermine him by questioning His authority. What hypocrites!
They were quite happy for the temple to be used as a market.
They were quite happy for the temple to resound with the shouts of trade and commerce.
They were quite happy to watch hearts turn to formalistic worship and for greed to flourish.
But when the temple is used as God intended – a place of reflection, teaching, prayer, restoration, worship and praise – when that happens they are indignant.
Tell us by what authority you are doing these things?
Who gave you this authority?
You come into the city parading yourself as the next Messiah. You disrupt the temple as if you own the place. You teach here daily but have no formal qualifications. You come uninvited into our territory. Who do You think You are claiming to be in charge?
From the moment he rode in on the donkey
Actually … from the moment He was baptised
This has been the question, “Who is Jesus?”
Who is this one who claims authority?
Jesus answers, with what seems to be a very random question about John the Baptist.
But it isn’t random. In fact the question gets to the heart of the matter.
Because when John began his ministry
With no authority from the leaders.
With no formal qualifications.
With no sanction … he just started preaching out in the desert.
When John did that this is what happened.
5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
The leaders were coming to John because they saw in John a ministry of authority. Not once was John rebuked.
So the question is a really good one.
Was John’s ministry from God or did it have earthly origins?” And the question places the leaders in a bit of a tight spot.
If they accept John they must accept Jesus. If they admit that John’s baptism was from heaven then they have to admit that Jesus is the Messiah.
They had accepted John’s ministry as being from God and in that ministry John pointed away from himself to Jesus and said, Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). If they admit John’s ministry is from heaven they also have to admit the same for Jesus.
If they reject John they will anger the crowds. The leaders were very political in their motives and they did not want to get the crowd off-side. If they say John’s Baptism was from man then they would be saying that John was a fake. Usually the general population followed their leaders but on this one the general population would become quite vocal.
They saw what John did.
They heard John speak.
They knew he was a prophet.
Any leader who spoke against John could kiss their leadership aspirations goodbye.
The deliberation of these leaders would be amusing if it wasn’t so tragic. It is very clear that the only issue they are worried about is preserving their image.
They are not after the truth, they are only concerned about the consequences.
They don’t care about the authority of Jesus … they certainly will not obey Him.
So they do not give any answer except the one designed to save their skin and also save face before Jesus. We don’t know.
That is called sitting on the fence
You can’t have it both ways.
Either Jesus has authority and you submit to that authority.
Or Jesus doesn’t have authority and you call him a fraud and you live your life as if His will doesn’t matter.
That is the challenge we face today.
The clearing of the temple proves that Jesus comes to bring acceptance for all … all have a place in the kingdom of God.
The clearing of the temple proves that Jesus wants us to experience what it is like to be in the presence of the Glory of the Lord.
Jesus is using His authority to give all of this to us.
When we are confronted with authority of Jesus we have to make the choice.
Who is in control?
Are we going to accept the authority of Jesus? Not just in the big areas but in the small areas as well? Recognising that the Word of God is continually challenging us to look at our lives and allow the Lord absolute sovereignty.
Think about it this way.
An architect is a man who designs buildings, determining what the finished product will be. When the building is finished the architect admires his masterpiece; satisfied at a design which he has brought to life.
But imagine how that same architect would feel when some years later he came back and saw this building in disrepair. Windows broken. Paint faded and peeling. Damaged surfaces. A derelict image of former glory – a masterpiece destroyed.
God is the architect … and we are that building.
We are the temple. Not the temple which was destroyed in 70AD … but the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is us.
Sometimes we have hearts that can be like a den of robbers, rather than a house of prayer.
Sometimes we have false-pretences, hindrances, greed, and less than pure motives out of the temple.
Which means that sometimes our King uses his authority to come into our lives and turn it upside-down to make us see where we are going wrong.
That is the authority of Jesus in action.
A King who cares enough about us to call us to account and bring us back to where we need to be when we move away from Him or when we take Him for granted.
The is the true Messiah-King