Intro: In our reading yesterday, Stephen told us about how the Jewish leaders had made an idol out of the temple. In our reading today, Jesus has entered Jerusalem to perform the Messianic action of restoring people to the true worship of God. His first act is a dandy; he identifies and drives false worship out of his Temple. Luke tells us the Jewish leaders driven out had made the temple about everything but prayer and the genuine worship and enthronement of God in the heart.
The act of cleansing the Temple was symbolic of the judgment Jesus—the Word of God—had pronounced against Israel (Luke 19:41-42). People would come to worship at the Temple and they would purchase animals for sacrifice. These leaders were financially fleecing the people over the sacrificial animals they were offering to God for worship. As well, Jesus drove out the money-changers who were converting currency for the Temple tax. These acts of offering to God were not the problem; rather, it was the exploitation of the Temple for commercial gain. The Temple was to reflect the glory of God, but it had instead become as corrupt as the world.
According to Scripture, this is the second time Jesus has driven the merchants out of the temple. Therefore, he meets intense opposition. Ponder that for a minute…Jesus’ biggest opponents are religious people who do not want to follow the Word. A true Christian is a follower of the Word of God. “God’s Word is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and morrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12). God’s Word can distinguish between godly and ungodly; good and evil. God wants the Word to cut away the ungodly things that try to cling to his people; this is how we worship in Spirit and Truth (John 4:24).
Luke 19:45-48 NLT Jesus Clears the Temple
45 Then Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people selling animals for sacrifices. 46 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
47 After that, he taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill him. 48 But they could think of nothing, because all the people hung on every word he said.
Prayer: Lord, worship is for you alone. Help us as your children to remember worship is loving you with every aspect of our being and resting in the work of the Word to make us whole. May we gather to worship and bring glory to your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.