What Jesus Did! 'Temple Tumult' — Matthew 21:12-13

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Jesus went into the temple area. He threw out all the people that were selling and buying things there. Jesus turned over the tables that belonged to the men that were exchanging different kinds of money. And Jesus turned over the benches of those men that were selling doves. Jesus said to all the people there, "It is written {in the Scriptures}, 'My house will be called a house for prayer.' But you are changing God's house into a 'hiding place for thieves.'"
— Matthew 21:12-13
Illustration of Matthew 21:12-13 — "It is written {in the Scriptures}, 'My house will be called a house for prayer.' But you are changing God's house into a 'hiding place for thieves.'"

Key Thought

A couple of things to notice in the passage:
First, Jesus takes authority over the Temple. This incredibly bold move leaves no middle ground for the rulers who oppose him. He is clearly acting with the authority of God over the most revered and sacred place in all of Judaism. To tread upon the Temple was to provoke death (just ask Stephen in Acts 7!).
Second, Jesus' actions are justified by Scripture. God's intent is revealed in his word and by his Living Word at the same time. God wanted his Temple to be a place of prayer for all nations. Like so many things, however, it had become a symbol, part of a ritual celebration that had lost its purpose because people were trying to find an advantage in what they did there rather than focusing on honoring God.

Today's Prayer

Father, no matter in what form or in which place or at what time I worship you, I want to do it to honor you and not myself. Please protect me from cold, sterile religion that turns all of worship into routines. I want to live freshly for you each day so I ask that you renew my joy, hope, and love in your presence each day. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Jesus went into the temple area. He threw out all the people that were selling and buying things there. Jesus turned over the tables that belonged to the men that were exchanging different kinds of money. And Jesus turned over the benches of those men that were selling doves. Jesus said to all the people there, "It is written {in the Scriptures }, 'My house will be called a house for prayer.' But you are changing God's house into a 'hiding place for thieves.' " Some blind people and some crippled people came to Jesus in the temple area. Jesus healed these people. The leading priests and the teachers of the law saw what Jesus did. They saw that Jesus was doing great things and saw the children praising Jesus in the temple area. The children were saying, "Praise to the Son of David. " All these things made the priests and the teachers of the law angry. The leading priests and the teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Do you hear the things these children are saying?" Jesus answered, "Yes. The Scripture says, 'You (God) have taught children and babies to give praise.' Have you not read that Scripture?" Then Jesus left that place and went out of the city to Bethany. Jesus stayed there that night. Early the next morning, Jesus was going back to the city. Jesus was very hungry. Jesus saw a fig tree beside the road. Jesus went to the fig tree {to get a fig to eat}. But there were no figs on the tree. There were only leaves. So Jesus said to the tree, "You will never again have fruit!" And then the tree dried up and died. The followers saw this. They were very surprised. They asked, "How did the fig tree dry up and die so quickly?" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth. If you have faith and no doubts, you will be able to do the same as I did to this tree. And you will be able to do more. You will be able to say to this mountain, 'Go, mountain, fall into the sea.' And if you have faith, it will happen. If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer." Jesus went intothe temple area. While Jesus was teaching there, the leading priests and the older leaders of the people came to Jesus. They said to Jesus, "Tell us! What authority (power) do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?" Jesus answered, "I will ask you a question too. If you answer me, then I will tell you what authority I have to do these things. Tell me: When John baptized people, did that come from God or was it only from other people?" The priests and the Jewish leaders talked about Jesus' question. They said to each other, "If we answer, 'John's baptism was from God,' then Jesus will say, 'Then why didn't you believe John?' But we can't say John's baptism was from someone else. We are afraid of the people, because they all believe that John was a prophet. " So they answered Jesus, "We don't know {where John's authority came from}." Then Jesus said, "Then I won't tell you what authority I have to do these things!

Matthew 21:12-27

Related Scripture Readings

This is the Lord's message to Jeremiah: Jeremiah, stand at the gate of the Lord's house. Preach this message at the gate: "Hear the message from the Lord, all you people of the nation of Judah. All you people that come through these gates to worship the Lord, hear this message. The Lord is the God of the people of Israel. This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: 'Change your lives and do good things. If you do this, I will let you live in this place. Don't trust the lies that some people say. They say, "This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord !" If you change your lives and do good things, I will let you live in this place. You must be fair to each other. You must be fair to strangers. You must do the right things for widows and orphans. Don't kill innocent people! Don't follow other gods! Why? Because they will ruin your lives. If you obey me, I will let you live in this place. I gave this land to your ancestors for them to keep forever.

Jeremiah 7:1-7

Some Jews said to Jesus, "Show us a miracle for a sign. Prove that you have the right to do these things." Jesus answered, "Destroy this temple and I will build it again in three days." The Jews answered, "People worked 46 years to build this temple! Do you really believe you can build it again in three days?" (But the temple Jesus meant was his own body. After Jesus was raised from death, his followers remembered that Jesus had said this. So his followers believed the Scripture {about him}, and they believed the words Jesus said.)

John 2:18-22

You should know that you yourselves are God's temple (house). God's Spirit lives in you. If any person destroys God's temple, then God will destroy that person. Why? Because God's temple is holy. You yourselves are God's temple.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.