Summary: Part one of a discussion of Jesus’ clearing of the temple during His last week.

Temple Attitudes – Part 1

Matthew 21:12-17

June 1, 2008


There’s a term we like to use when describing anger about something regarding things we love or the things of God.

That term is “righteous anger.”

We might feel righteous anger when we hear the name of Jesus being slandered or someone we know being talked about behind their back.

It’s the anger that a husband would feel if he heard someone insult his wife.

You know what I’m talking about.

Often we think of anger as being a sin. But Scripture doesn’t say anger is a sin. Rather the Bible says to not sin in our anger. In other words, don’t let your anger lead you to sin.

This “righteous anger” is what Jesus experienced when he came upon the moneychangers and merchants in the temple area.

His zeal for His Father’s house drove Him to do something to rid it of the insult that was being put upon the temple by these people.

God: We continue our walk through the Gospel of Matthew, and we’re now in the last week of Jesus’ life before He offers Himself up as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

He’s just recently had His triumphal entry, with the people shouting and calling Him by the title “Son of David,” which was a title reserved for the coming Messiah.

Shortly after this, we find Jesus coming into the temple area, and that’s where we pick it up for today.

Matthew 21:12-17 (p. 698) –

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 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.

We’re not going to be able to cover everything that can be touched about what Jesus did and said at the temple, so we’ll be visiting this for the next two or three weeks, but I do want us to take a look at some things today that I think will help us understand a bit of what Jesus was trying to communicate here.

This was probably a second cleansing. The first took place toward the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and is described in John 2.

The place where this happened was in the area known as “The Court of the Gentiles,” which is an area well outside the place where the Jews offered their sacrifices.

To kind of give you an idea of where this was, let’s pretend that the sanctuary we’re in right now is the sanctuary of the temple.

The sanctuary of the temple had two main areas: the Holy Place, where the priests performed their regular duties, and the Most Holy Place, where the ark of the covenant and the atonement cover were.

The Most Holy Place, or the Holy of Holies as it is sometimes called, was separated by two large, thick curtains 90 feet high.

It would be like if we hung a huge curtain in front of the platform. Everything behind it would be the Most Holy Place, the rest would be the Holy Place.

The lobby would be the Priests’ Court, which was reserved exclusively for the priests.

If we put a walled area off to the side of the lobby, that would be what was called the “Israel Court” which was for the men.

If we put another wall outside the lobby to create another area, that would be the “Women’s Court.”

Another walled area outside of that would be the “Sacred Enclosure” a Gentile entering this area or attempting to get any closer to the temple could be put to death, even under Roman rule.

Outside of that area was the “Court of the Gentiles.” It was quite a ways off from where the sacrifices were offered on behalf of Israel.

Yesterday my Community Emergency Response Team was asked to help with traffic control for Barak Obama’s speech at the Civic Arena.

The security was tight, and most people had to park a long way away, then walk around a perimeter a block long on each side of the arena.

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