After - Day 2

Jesus Clear the Temple

Matthew 21:12-22, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-17

The following morning, Jesus returned with his disciples to Jerusalem proper. Along the way, he had words that cursed a fig tree because it had failed to bear fruit. Some scholars believe this cursing of the fig tree represented God's judgment on the spiritually dead religious leaders of Israel. Others believe the symbolism extended to all believers, demonstrating that genuine faith is more than just outward religiosity; true, living faith must bear spiritual fruit in a person's life. It is safe to say that Jesus was using the tree as a metaphor and that we should all take notice of what he was trying to get us to understand. In other places Jesus had talked about the religious leaders as being clean on the outside yet dirty on the inside. We need to make sure we are not doing the same thing with our lives.

When Jesus arrived at the Temple, he found the courts full of corrupt money changers. He began overturning their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, "The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be a house of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves" (Luke 19:46).
On Monday evening, Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

This was a full day for Jesus and the disciples. Particularly interesting is the story of Jesus in the temple and how he was offended by what they had done in order to make money off of the religious beliefs of those who came to the temple.

You see, they had wrapped economics around their idea of repentance and forgiveness of God. This is more than offering some merchandise in the lobby, rather, it is a deliberate effort to make money off of God’s favor with people. Now we know that this is not really possible, but with a sacrificial system, it was possible to make people believe that they had to purchase something that was more appropriate and had been vetted in order for them to receive the blessing from God.

In today’s vernacular, we would see this as religious abuse. And it was pretty despicable. When Jesus encountered this, he took it upon himself to make sure that this wasn’t going to happen anymore. Therefore, he went right to the heart of the problem, those who were profiting off of this system and he kicked them out.

He must have had some pretty significant authority to do this in the midst of everything else that was happening in the temple and in Jerusalem at the time. It didn’t make too many people happy, but that has never been something that Jesus was interested in doing. Everything he did seemed to make the religious leaders uncomfortable. Remember, Jesus was pushing back on the status quo that had been established in their culture and religion and they stood to lose a great deal by him upsetting the way things were.

  1. What do you think you would do if you saw someone upsetting the way things are in our religious world today? 
  2. Why was Jesus able to take such authority in the temple? 
  3. Do you think this is one of the reasons that popular opinion soured on him throughout the week? 

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