Summary: What kind of man is this who has the authority to cast out demons, make cripples walk and cleanse the Temple. They demanded a sign, he gave them one and they missed it.
The Cleansing of the Temple:
Confirmation that the Temple was being turned into a marketplace during the time of Jesus can be found in some early Jewish writings. First of all, there is a record of the common practice of setting up moneychangers in the temple area during Passover. The Talmud states the following:
“Beginning on the 1st of Adar (the month before Passover), a proclamation was made to the people that they should prepare . . .On the 15th day of Adar, moneychangers were sent out to collect the Half-Shekel for its donation . . . On the 25th day of Adar, moneychangers were installed in the Temple itself to help in the collecting of the Half-Shekel donation.”
Not only were the moneychangers robbing the people, but also history records that excessive prices were being charged by those who were selling animals used in Temple sacrifice. For example, according to Leviticus 12:6-8, after an Israelite woman had given birth, she was to bring a sacrifice to the temple, preferably a sheep. However, if she was poor and could not afford the price of a sheep, she could take two doves or two pigeons for the sacrifice, one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering. The Jewish Mishna states, that because of their greed, those who were selling birds raised their prices so much that the poorer woman of the community could not afford them. Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel the Elder, a leading rabbi of his time and a descendant of Gamaliel whom the Bible says trained the apostle Paul as a Pharisee, before Paul had come to Christ, took immediate action to lower the market price. The Mishna gives this account in Kritut 1:7: “If a woman had given birth five times during her life . . . after she brings a single sacrifice, she will be able to eat sanctified foods once again. However, she is still under oath to bring four more. It eventually came to pass that the cost of two birds rose dramatically to one gold zuz. Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel declared: "I pledge that before I go to bed this very night, the price of birds will fall!" He headed straight to the courtyard and instructed the people to obey the following regulation: "After giving birth five times, a woman . . . needs to bring just one sacrificial offering to cover all five births. . . . . That very day,
the price of birds plummeted to one quarter of a silver zuz.” Even many of the high priests during the first century seemed to have given up their love of God for the love of money. Most notably the High priest whom Jesus was brought before, Annas, along with his five sons who succeeded him to that position. The Temple sacrifice during their reigns can best be summed up by the words “The Marketplace of the family of Annas”
The Cleansing of the Temple
1: Turned into a Den of Thieves
a. Overpricing/Over Taxing
b. Animals that were not sacrificial quality.
c. In the Temple courts stealing from the worship?
d. Many believe the traders/market was set up in the Temple court of the Jews or just outside the Temple Mount.
2. How would we turn the place of worship into a den of thieves?
1. Business in the place of worship.
2. Anything that would steal our worship time.
3. When we do not bring the full tithe into the storehouse (Mal 3:8-10)
We do not steal just with our tithes, but when we replace worship with anything else that does not give Glory and honor to God.
A. The Communion Table
B. Our Time of Prayer
C. Our Bible Reading
D. When our zeal for Him does not overwhelm us.
They asked Jesus for a sign that he had the authority to do this. His sign is the resurrection.
The Temple is not the building, it is the heart of the worshippers. God resides in the heart of believers, have we turned His house into a den of Thieves? Come to Jesus for a cleansing.