Robbers in the Temple of God!!!
Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”And the the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”
Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He lodged there……. Matthew 21:12-17
In our previous study, we see Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a Donkey in all Humility and how the whole city was moved and the way they welcome the Humble and gentle Jesus. Here, we see cleansing the Temple by sending out those who buy and sell there.
Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”: Although He entered Jerusalem as a King, He did not go into the Palace. He went to the Temple. For His Kingdom is a Spiritual Kingdom. It is in the Temple that He exercises his authority as King. He did not use the influence He had with the People to seek a position in the ruling Council of the Country like what we see in today’s Preachers. They use Christianity to win votes for themselves into political offices. This is the second time Jesus will be cleansing the Temple. He cleansed it once at the beginning of his ministry(John 2:14-16), and here towards the ending of His ministry, He cleansed it again. It is interesting to note that when He first cleanse it, He said to those who sold doves, ” Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!(John 2:16)” But Here He said,” My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘Den of thieves (Matt 21:13)”. Things has changed terribly since the Last time Jesus cleansed the Temple. It was no longer a House of Merchandise, but a Den of thieves. It is no longer a place of business but a Home for thieves. Indeed, Sin is a Downward process. There is a constant need for cleansing the Lord’s Temple. It is not enough to have done it once. Buyers and sellers will come again. So there is a need to do it again and again for the temple to be Cleansed. There must always be prophetic word cleansing our heart and the Church which is the body of Christ.
What was wrong in their buying and Selling in the Temple? Moreover, the birds, doves, sheep and oxen sold made it much easier for those who came to offer sacrifices at Jerusalem get what they needed instead of going through the stress of bringing it from a Long distance. There is great temptation and corruption when the principles of business is permitted within the Church. When we begin to see the Church as a Place where we can make a profit. When we see that Godliness has become a thing of gain to us, we can be sure that the Lord frowns at it. If you want to make a gain in material things, go to the market place not within the Church!!! Jesus did not go to the Market to send people away. But doing business within the Church is not permitted. Profit is the motive of all business. And the body of Christ is not a place for that. If we allow the Principle of Profit making to continue in the Church, very soon the Church will become a Den of thieves!!! Ask yourself how come some things sold in the Church are more expensive than the normal market prices? All in the name that it has been anointed or the Church name is printed on it. This is exactly how the Church becomes the Den of thieves!!!
We need to understand Jesus completely in a Balance way. He is full of Grace and of Truth(100% Grace and 100% Truth). He knows how to speak compassionately to Lepers, Woman caught in Adultery and the divorced woman at the well in Samaria. But He also knows how to call the Pharisees “Generation of Vipers(Matt 23:33)” and to turn the table of those who are making money in the name of Religion in the Temple. This is the balance understanding of Christ-likeness that we must have as Christians. Often time when we use the word, “Christ-like”, we only think of tenderness and gentleness and humility of Jesus as we see Him riding on a Donkey. But His gentleness and Humility did not prevent him from purifying the Temple. Man’s understanding of gentleness and humility is different from what we see in Jesus. Humility does not mean talking softly and bowing our heads when we speak. You would never think that a Man who calls people, “Generation of Viper” and turns the table of people to get out of the temple is Christ-like. This is exactly how the Devil has hidden True Christ-likeness from the mind of Christians and the end result is that most Christian Churches are in a Pathetic state when it comes to purity. The Church needs cleansing but there is nobody to do it because everybody is trying to be Christ-like in a False way. Even in preaching, there is a lot of preaching where people say we must be gracious and gentle. Yes we must be!!! But there is another aspect of taking the wipe and chasing those who are seeking to corrupt the Purity of God’s House. I am not saying everybody is called to fulfill this ministry but there must be some and seriously, there is a Great lack of Preachers in the Church today who will drive out these money loving Preachers who are out to squeeze money from poor people in other to live in grand style themselves. If the Lord has called you to such ministry, fulfill it and don’t care about what people think about You. The Zeal of God’s house consumed Jesus and He was not concerned about His reputation. He was not bothered if His Disciples says “He lost his temper”. He was concern that God’s house should be kept pure. When they called Him prince of Demons, He was not angry. When they spat on his face and Crucified Him, he was not angry. But when it has to do with maintaining the Prue state of the Church, He made a wipe. There is a Lesson for Us here also that the Zeal for the purity of the Church must consume us. Jesus seeks to Purify the Church even today to cast out those who are making money in the name of Religion, those who are seeking Honour, gain for themselves in the Church. Think of the Multitude that would be cast put if Jesus was to Physically come to the Church today. And this is the reason why He has placed Prophets and Preachers in the Church that they might proclaim the word that will drive out those seeking their own money, Honour and gain in the Church. Jesus is not a Diplomat when it comes to maintaining the purity in God’s house.
The Church should be a place where people pray and seek God not the Place to make your profit and earn a Living. But not a Robbers den. Anyone who seeks to make profit out of religion is a robber. Anyone who is trying to serve God and Mammon is a Robber. There are many Robbers den in Christiandom that needs to be cleansed. And the Word of God is meant to cleanse it. But God’s word has been so watered down that we now hear the voice of the Diplomat and not God’s voice. We need to meditate on this passage and see the Zeal that Jesus had for purity in God’s house.
Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them: Here we see the balance of Grace. This also must take place in the Church. Those that are spiritual blind to see the Glory of Jesus must be healed and those that are lame without the ability to walk in Victory over Sin must be healed. The prophetic word must drive out those who seek for gain and it must also comfort and deliver the Spiritually Blind and Lame. For Jesus does two things in the Church even today, He drives out the Money Changers and He heals the blind and the lame. Jesus could easily swap depending on who was in front of Him. This is how it must be with us also. When the Spiritually blind and lame come into the church, we must be tender and kind towards them with encouraging words but we must use strong words to drive out the crook who are not willing to change.
But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”: Here we see Religious People cannot understand this kind of prophetic ministry. Religious people who do not understand that the money Changers need to be drove out of the temple. They could not understand Jesus attitude because they were diplomats. They cannot understand the Children crying out and praising God. Imagine the Children are praising God in the temple and instead of being delighted, these religious people were upset. Religious people are offended when the noise of sincere praise ascends to God. And they questioned Jesus. And Jesus defended the Children using the Scriptures. When grown up men do not know how to open their mouths to praise God, God will raise Children to Praise Him and Jesus is delighted in Praise.
If you actually look at Psalm to see the verse that Jesus quoted, you will discover something interesting. I want to encourage you always go back to the old testament and check each time it such verses is quoted in the New testament. Jesus said, ” Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise(Matt 21:16)” but Psalm 8:2 says, ” Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.” The Psalmist was talking about Strength coming out of infants mouth to defeat our enemies, but Jesus was talking about Praise coming out of the infant mouth. Putting this two verses together, what do we learn? The way to silent Satan who is our enemy is by praising God. Whenever you find that your prayers don’t seem to be going through or you are finding yourself heavy or sleepy in time of prayer, switch to Praise. Whenever You seem not to connect to Heaven, don’t kneel down, get-up and walk and lift your hands and start praising God and you will find it easy to connect to Heaven. Once the enemies are cleared and the ways into the Heavens is clear, you can now pray.
Dear Friend, why are you in the Church? Is it because You want make a profit? Is it because You are being paid as an instrumentalist? Is it so that You can make connections with people? Is it to get honour? Are you beginning to sell things in the Church using the Profit oriented principles? Do you organise programs and seminars with the motive of getting profits? You can justify yourself saying, “It is to fund the Church projects” but take heed!!! Every soon, such a Church will become a Den for thieves. Jesus frowns at such activities. He is displeased with such a Person or Church. The Church is a place where we sacrifice our time, energy and Money, not a place where we go expecting to get Material profit. May the Lord not find us among the group that needs to be driven out of the Church in Jesus name(Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus