Intro Sentence: Jesus’ rebuke of the temple traders (money-changers) was part of God’s appeal to humanity to not desecrate their covenant with him, that he was going to make things right with the world, but this reconciliation would require the death of his Son Jesus, for the sins of the world.
Luke 19:45 – 46
Jesus at the temple
45 When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46 ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘“My house will be a house of prayer”; but you have made it “a den of robbers”.’
Jesus is in a determined mood, having just passionately prophesied the fall of Jerusalem and with it, his beloved nation, the Jews. He was now on his way to die for the sins of the world, enabling humanity to make peace with God. I love Jesus’ attitude to all things temple, all the rituals associated with God communing with his people. It is a most holy thing, an incredible privilege, which is why God went to such lengths to tell his people exactly how to do it, and with what spirit to do it. And now God was not rebuking his people for abusing the temple rituals through just any prophet, he was doing it through his Son Jesus. Jesus attitude was one of zeal for his Father’s house, not wanting his people to miss out on the glory of communing correctly with God.
Unfortunately, no matter how commendably the Jews began in following the temple rituals, their fallen human nature could not help exposing itself with the usual vices of greed and selfishness. They were not using fair exchange rates in the buying and selling of sacrificial animals and were essentially cheating each other.
Jesus rebuke that his house will be a house of prayer appeals to the beautiful words of a former prophet Isaiah (chapter 56). God was asking of his people through Isaiah inter alia to maintain justice and do what is right, to keep his Sabbath ritual without desecrating it. This is the link to his rebuke of the temple traders, who were clearly not charging just prices and who by implication were desecrating the temple rituals. However, Jesus did not directly emphasise this part of the prophecy. Jesus pointed to a time when all will be well with God and humanity, when foreigners (i.e. you and me), will bind themselves to the Lord. When all will love the Lord wholeheartedly, not desecrating their covenant with God. When God will bring us to himself, give us joy in his house of prayer, and when his house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. Isn’t that beautiful?
Head: Can you think of any other times Jesus was in the temple and treated it with the utmost holiness?
Heart: How do you feel about the wrath of God, and that there will be a judgement?
Hands: Think of any aspects in your past or present where you have disrespected the covenant you have with God as a Christian, reflect again on them, and ask God for forgiveness.
Prayer: Lord thank you for the privilege of being invited to be part of your forever family. Thank you that you made things right not only with your chosen people, the Jews, but extended your forgiveness to the rest of humanity too. Left to ourselves, we so easily fall into selfishness and greed, but thanks to the giving of your Son Jesus, we now have peace with you. Give us the passion for your house, for communing with you, that we may honour your beautiful promise that your house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
A song to listen to: Come Praise and Glorify
Living Church – Creek Road