Jessica Albritton, Family Connections Minister LHBC

Matthew 21:12-13
And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

The other week I was in a classroom with some sweet little 3 year old’s. The time came to clean up the room a bit so we could have a snack but one little boy decided to keep on playing. His teacher asked him a few times to stop playing and help clean up the room but that was not on his agenda that morning. Instead of cleaning up his space he began throwing his toys, one by one, on the ground out of frustration. I kindly asked my little friend to pick up his toys but instead he turned to me, made eye contact, and without blinking, threw another toy down. I looked over at the teacher in the room and said, “well that just makes me want to be like Jesus and flip a table…” We both laughed and shook our heads and I went over to my little friend and had a conversation about being respectful and listening to our teachers. At the end of the conversation he picked up all his toys and we moved on to snack time, happy as a clam. And no, I did not end up flipping that table. 

Jesus was a teacher. Throughout His earthly ministry Jesus traveled around from town to town sharing the good news of the kingdom of God. Often He would stop in the temple and in Matthew chapter 21 we can read of one of those visits. The temple was where all sacrifices were made in order to receive forgiveness from sin. This is of course before Jesus went to the cross so God’s people were still functioning under Old Testament law. In the temple were priests, men called by God to act as a mediator between God and the rest of mankind. In this one particular account however we see many in the temple were misrepresenting the Father. The priest in the temple no longer had his heart towards God. Many there were using God’s name as a way to get rich. No longer was there concern with feeding the poor, serving others, and taking care of the widows and orphans, instead money changers were robbing unsuspecting men and women in God’s name. The temple was no longer a place to come into contact with God, it was a place committed to the world and an avenue to get rich. 

Jesus comes in, sees what they were doing, and in righteous anger begins flipping over tables and driving them all out. In verse 13 Jesus says, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Jesus was actually quoting scripture from the Old Testament in Isaiah 56:7 where the prophet said the temple would be to worship God but the priests were not worshipping God at all. 

Later on Jesus goes to the cross and sin and shame were defeated for good by His death, burial, and resurrection. Scripture states in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” We no longer have to go to the temple in Jerusalem to make sacrifices for our sins. When Jesus went to the cross He became that sacrifice for us. Even better, when we ask Jesus into our lives our body becomes His temple. He lives in us! We belong to Him. We were bought with the blood of Jesus so we are to worship God with our lives! Everything we do should point to Him and our purpose should be to tell others of how good He is! 

But if you’re anything like me you can fall into the same trap the priest and money changers did. When we forget our purpose and mission to point others to Jesus, when we are more consumed with the world than we are with prayer, spending time with Christ, and sharing the good news of the gospel, we become people that point others away from rather than to Jesus. What about you? Has your bodily temple lost its purpose? Does Jesus need to flip the tables of greed and self-righteousness over in your own heart? Pray today to the God who saves and ask Him to give you a new heart, a heart fixed on Him!  

Heavenly Father, Oh how easy it is to become distracted by the stuff of this world! Lord, help me to fix my eyes on You and You alone! God, help me to remember my purpose and open my eyes to see opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel with those around me. In Jesus name, amen!

Hebrews 6:19- We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain