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 NLT
Illustration of Matthew 21:12-13 NLT — "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.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Jeremiah 7:1-7
  • John 2:18-22
  • 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.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.