Overthrowing the Moneychangers
John 2:13-16 “And the Jews Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers money, and overthrew their tables;
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.”
This is the first of three Passovers, which Jesus attends to fulfill His work, after He was baptized of John the Baptist.
He came with no fanfare, but walked into the temple, fulfilling God’s commandment.
There He finds those men which had been allowed to go into the outer court of the temple, to sell their wares.
This would be very convenient. (And how many times we give into the convenient way of doing God’s Will; not His way).
If you had traveled from a far distance, you could not bring a proper sacrifice with you. It would certainly be damaged by the time you got to Jerusalem. Which would not be acceptable. (Deuteronomy 17:1)
So, you would need to buy one there. Certainly at an exorbitant rate!
The priests had an arrangement with the sellers. (Most likely getting some of the money they charged to the visitors.). And so at the time of the Passover, the outer court was turned into a market place.
When Jesus came, and saw it; He drove out the sellers, and reminded all that the temple was God’s house. It was not to be a house of merchandise.
John 2:17 “And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”
This was the first public rebuking of the Priests, and authorities. It was for His Father’s glory, and they should have easily submitted, if they wanted God’s glory.
But believing in God’s Law, in general; and being corrected by it, are two different things. It requires heart submission, to God.
Paul said of them, later:
Romans 2:21-23 “Thou therefore which teaches another, teaches thou not thyself? Thou that teaches a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
Thou that sayest that a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery?
Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God?”
Jesus had ministered with others, and had done miracles; but this was the first time He publicly showed His authority:
He not only demanded the removal of that which was defiling His Father’s House; He drove them out!
He spoke with Power, and used His power to cleanse the Temple! None had done, as He was doing.
There were three years of the ministry of Jesus:
It is not certain when the priests went back to the arrangement of selling in the temple court; but in the third year of His ministry, He came again to Jerusalem.
This time He came with fanfare….if anyone wanted to really see and receive their Messiah; here he was: according to prophesy. (Zechariah 9:9)
Matthew 21:6-11 “And his disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them,
And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees and strewed them in the way.
And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”
By this time He was recognized, as the one who did many miracles, throughout the land. Not so long ago He had raised Lazarus from the dead. For all these things, the crowds in Jerusalem praised Him.
There were many who believed on Him as the Messiah; but the crowds were looking for miracles, for healing, for a show. (Were they who praised here, crying “Crucify Him”, in a few days?)
Matthew 21:12-14 “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all of them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the changers of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them, it is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And the blind, and the lame, came to him in the temple; and he healed them.”
When He came the first time, He said, “My Father’s House”. Here it is called the temple of God, still. (Later He will say, “your house is left unto you desolate”. Matthew 23:37-38)
But here, in front of all, He said “My house”. Showing clearly that He is the Messiah, that was to come, and restore the hearts of Israel to God. (Isaiah 56:7)
But the leaders refused. There was no subjection to His claims.
He did teach and heal those who came to him, but when it was evening; he left Jerusalem.
Matthew 21:15 “And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased.”
After all, He was the Messiah, that meant they would have to submit to Him. This they had refused to do; and still refused.
Their hearts were full of themselves. They had a good thing going here. They were in charge of the money, gifts, and offerings, given to the Lord.
They had influence and power. They had place.
And they did not want the Messiah coming along, and ruining it for them.
(How sad to refuse salvation because of things! How often have we felt the same about our plans, and position? I know I have. We think, “If we yield to God, and do His Will; how will that effect us?”
When the Lord pointed it out to me, I confessed my sin; for how awful for me to think this way, after all He has done for me!)
The next day, when He comes back into Jerusalem, to the temple to teach; the chief priests send people to prove Him wrong. Then they could accuse Him of something.
But He knew their tricks, and confused them.
Then He spoke to them, directly:
Matthew 21:31-32 “….Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”
Here is the crux of the whole matter: “ye repented not afterward, that ye might believe”. He had given them time to repent, to come and believe Him. But though they heard Him many times (and acknowledged His answers), yet their hearts would not yield.
John the Baptist had come, preaching repentance; to prepare for the Messiah.
The Son of God had come, preaching the kingdom of God was at hand. Would they hear and enter in?
Isaiah 65:2 “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walked in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;”
We seldom understand the grip that the world has on us; until we see it next to Jesus.
Repentance is changing our minds and hearts about God; then changing our actions toward Him.
Once we fought against Him: His will and our subjection to Him.
But when we repent: we give in. He will be our Lord and Savior.
He will command in this holy temple of my body (1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”), and I will yield to Him.
Repentance toward God, and faith to our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)
For Christ Jesus is still saving His people. He cleanses us that we might be His dwelling place here on earth.