Home  Library  Donate

Luke 19:45-48

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 15, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

In writing this book about Jesus, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.

Daniel & Laura sharing?

We are now on the homestretch of Jesus’ ministry.

Jesus is now in Jerusalem, on His way to be crucified. 

Luke has reminded us of what Jesus’ main purpose was in life:

(Luke 19:10 NKJV) for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Last week we saw Jesus arrive in Jerusalem on a Sunday, to the shouts of an adoring crowd

(Luke 19:38 NKJV) saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

As Jesus got closer to the city, the mood changed.  Jesus wept, knowing that this particular day that He was entering into Jerusalem was the very day prophesied in Daniel 9, the day that Messiah would be presented to the nation.  Even though some in the crowd were calling Him a king, the leaders of the nation would reject Him.

(Luke 19:42 NLT) “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes.

Mark tells us that after this, Jesus went to the Temple, but didn’t stay long because it was getting late, and went back to Bethany to spend Sunday night. (Mark 11:11)

(Mark 11:11 NKJV) —11 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Luke picks up the story on Monday morning, with Jesus entering the Temple and cleaning house.

This is the second time that Jesus will “cleanse” the Temple.

John recorded that Jesus had done it at the very beginning of His ministry (John 2:13-17)

John wrote his gospel much later than the other gospels, and he made a point to include some of the things that had been left out of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  John let us know that three years prior to this current trip, Jesus had made a trip to Jerusalem at the very beginning of His public ministry. Just like this current trip, it was the time of the Passover and included a visit to the Temple.

(John 2:13–17 NLT) —13 It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14 In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. 15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. 16 Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” 17 Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”

We’re going to see that the changes Jesus tried to make in the Temple three years ago, didn’t last.

19:45-48 Cleansing the Temple

:45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it,

:46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

:45 He went into the temple

the templehieron – a sacred place, temple

This word isn’t exclusive of the temple building itself, but includes the whole grounds of the temple mount.
The Temple grounds were made up of one courtyard within another, with the building in the center.
You would enter from the south, climbing the “southern steps” through tunnels that led you into the outermost court, the Court of the Gentiles.
As you got closer to the Temple building, you would go through the court of women, the court of Israel, and then the court of the priests.
But no Gentile was allowed any further than the court of the Gentiles.
All the commotion with the buyers and sellers took place in the court of the Gentiles.
Here’s a scale model found at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

:45 began to drive out those who bought and sold in it

beganarchomai – to be the first to do (anything), to begin

to drive outekballo – to cast out, drive out, to send out

soldpoleo – to barter, to sell; sellers

boughtagorazo – to be in the market place, to attend it; to do business there, buy or sell

Two things were going on:

Animal selling

Many of the people coming to the Temple would be coming to present animal sacrifices to the Lord.
They might be bringing sin offerings to atone for their sin.
They might be bringing burnt offerings as a way of devoting themselves to the Lord.
They might be bringing peace offerings as a way of connecting in fellowship with God and with others.
For those who had to travel long distances to get to the Temple, it would be much easier to buy your sacrificial animal in Jerusalem rather than trying to bring your lamb all the way from Galilee.
God even suggested this, telling Moses in the book of Deuteronomy that if the worshipper had to travel a great distance, he could just buy an animal in Jerusalem (Deut. 14:24-26)

(Deuteronomy 14:24–26 NKJV) —24 But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, 25 then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. 26 And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.

When we talk about the problems that Jesus sees in the Temple, it’s not that these specific things are necessarily bad, but that the practice of them got twisted.
The Law had a requirement that the sacrifices be “without blemish”.
The idea is that you don’t give God your trash, you give Him your best.

(Deuteronomy 15:21 NKJV) But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God.

Because of the need for sacrificial animals, and the requirement that they are “without blemish”, a small industry sprang up in Jerusalem. Would you buy a used lamb from this guy?
The selling of animals might have started out as a help for travelers, but eventually greed got a foothold.
Before an animal was sacrificed, it had to be certified by a priest as “without blemish”.
Coincidentally, unless you bought your animal from one of the sellers in the Temple, the priests could always find a blemish.
As you would expect, the animals sold in the Temple cost more than those sold out on the street.
The people were being ripped off, the merchants were raking it in, and the priests got a cut of the action.
Matthew records that when Jesus went into the Temple, He …
(Matthew 21:12b NKJV) …overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.

Doves were the poor man’s sacrifice.

The sellers had no shame ripping off even the poorest of worshippers.

Money changing

There were several reasons for the people to be bringing in money.
Some were bringing in their “tithe”, a tenth of their produce, in money, rather than pay it in grain or livestock.
All were required to pay a temple tax of a half a shekel every year. (Ex. 30:13)

(Exodus 30:13 NKJV) —13 This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half-shekel shall be an offering to the Lord.

Because it didn’t seem appropriate to pay these things with pagan coins, an industry was set up to exchange foreign currency into the approved Temple shekel.
Of course, the exchange rates were high, with the people being ripped off and the priests becoming wealthy from their cut.

Alfred Edersheim, a Jewish historian and cultural expert says that at this time in history, the priests were netting the equivalent of $300,000 a year in money exchange alone.

Alfred wrote 150 years ago.  I wonder how much that is in today’s dollars?


Selling in church

Is it wrong to sell things in church?
You will find that some people feel this is the case.
They will criticize churches that have coffee shops and bookstores and point to this passage.
Yet keep in mind the bigger picture.
Selling sacrificial animals in Jerusalem was God’s idea, not the money-grubbing priests (Deut. 14:24-26). It was meant to be a helpful service.
It’s when God’s people are getting taken advantage of that there is a problem.
It’s when the focus of church the church changes from prayer and teaching (we’ll see this today) to other issues like making money that there’s a problem.


The Temple

The focus throughout our passage is the Temple.  There are several ways we can apply these principles.
For the New Testament believer, the Bible identifies two kinds of “Temples”.
1. Our individual bodies are considered a Temple.
(1 Corinthians 6:18–20 NKJV) —18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

As a believer, the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in you, making your body a “Temple”.

Your “Temple” was not designed for immorality, just like the Jerusalem Temple was not designed for making money.

Your body was designed for God.

2. When the believers gather together, we also form a Temple.
(1 Corinthians 3:16–17 NKJV) —16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

The “you” throughout the passage is in the plural (“you all”).  He is talking about when the people are all gathered together.

Paul has been talking about people causing division within the church in Corinth, and when a person causes division, they are defiling the “Temple”.

The church was not designed for divisions, but for prayer.

:46 you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’

This phrase is a quote from Jeremiah 7:11.

(Jeremiah 7:11 NKJV) Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the Lord.

denspelaion – a cave, den

thieveslestes – a robber, plunderer; one who steals openly (as opposed to stealing by stealth)

The sellers and money changers were openly ripping the people off.
A den of thieves is where thieves run to hide their loot after they have committed their crimes.
In the original “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the forty thieves kept their stolen treasure in a cave. Here’s an Indian version –
Video: Alibaba 40 Dongalu
You might think of Aladdin’s cave of wonders:
Video: Aladdin and the Cave of Wonders

Instead of being a place of prayer, the Temple had become the treasure cave for the greedy religious leaders to hang out in.

Warren Wiersbe writes,

“Instead of praying for the people, the priests were preying on the people!”

:46 My house is a house of prayer

It is writtengrapho – to write, with reference to the form of the letters; to write, with reference to the contents of the writing

Perfect passive indicative – written in the past with the effect still carrying on into the present.

houseoikos – a house

prayerproseuche – prayer addressed to God; a place set apart or suited for the offering of prayer

Jesus quotes Isaiah:

(Isaiah 56:1–7 NKJV) —1 Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come, And My righteousness to be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.” 3 Do not let the son of the foreigner Who has joined himself to the Lord Speak, saying, “The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”; Nor let the eunuch say, “Here I am, a dry tree.” 4 For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, 5 Even to them I will give in My house And within My walls a place and a name Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name That shall not be cut off.
When Moses was given the Law, God said that eunuchs would not be allowed to enter into the temple. (Deut. 23:1).

Most likely this was to prevent the Israelites from copying some of the weird pagan practices going on around them.

Yet Isaiah showed that in the future, even eunuchs would be given a place in God’s house, if they followed God’s ways.
6 “Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants— Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And holds fast My covenant— 7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
God’s hope was that Israel would be a light to the Gentiles.
Yet as Jesus is quoting Isaiah in the Court of the Gentiles, the Jews had messed things up so the Temple was a place where people were turned off and ripped off.
Don’t forget what Jesus told us was His mission in life:

(Luke 19:10 NKJV) for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”


What we’re about

God’s desire is for people to be saved.
As Temples, both we as individuals, as well as we as a church gathered together, ought to be a place where that happens.
Whether we accept it or not, there are going to be “sons of the foreigner” in our midst from time to time.
We need to be sure that we aren’t doing things to hinder people from connecting with God.
Matthew records that the first thing that happened after Jesus threw out the money changers was,
(Matthew 21:14–16 NKJV) —14 Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. 15 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 16 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’?

Jesus cleanses the Temple, and the blind can see, the lame can walk, and children are loving on Jesus. Coincidence?  I think not.


House of prayer

After Solomon built the first Temple, he dedicated it to God with a prayer.
In his prayer of dedication, asked God over and over that God would honor the prayers of His people whenever they called out to Him when praying towards the Temple.
(1 Kings 8:30 NKJV) And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive.
This church should be a “house of prayer”.
I certainly don’t think we have this all mastered.  But I’m very, very glad we’re learning.
Much of the prayer in our church takes place behind the scenes – whether by the prayer chain, or the prayer covering ministry in the back.
In about a month, I’ve got a friend who is going to be leading a Thursday night Servant’s school class on prayer.
In a sense, this can apply to our personal lives, our own “temple”.  I should be a place of prayer.

:47 And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him,

:48 and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.

:47 He was teaching daily in the temple

Over the next week, Jesus will come into the Temple each day and teach.

Luke 20-21, Matthew 21-25, and Mark 12-13 contain some of the things that Jesus taught in the Temple during that last week.

Not only was the Temple to be a house of prayer, it was to be a place of teaching.

When the early church began to grow, the apostles were overwhelmed with all the things that were requiring their attention.

They decided to sit down and figure out what their priorities ought to be, and came to this conclusion:
(Acts 6:4 NKJV) but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

This is when they appointed other men to help them with all the other stuff that needed to get done.

:47 the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him

chief priestsarchiereus – chief priest, high priest

scribesgrammateus – a clerk, scribe, esp. a public servant, secretary, recorder; in the Bible, a man learned in the Mosaic law and in the sacred writings, an interpreter, teacher.

leadersprotos – first in time or place; first in rank

soughtzeteo – to seek in order to find

to destroyapollumi – to destroy

to doheurisko – to come upon, hit upon, to meet with

to dopoieo – to make; to do

While some of the people were hailing Jesus as their King, the leaders were plotting to put Him to death (John 11:47-53).  He was getting too popular.

It was only a few weeks earlier that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, and that event put the leaders into a panic.

(John 11:47–53 NKJV) —47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” 49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. 53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death.

:48 the people were very attentive to hear Him

were very attentiveekkremamai – to hang from

They were hanging on every word



I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how interested people seem to be when it comes to studying God’s Word.
I am old enough to remember a time in the 70’s when the Jesus movement was sweeping through our area.
I know that I was hungry to learn God’s Word.
It was not unusual for many of us to go to Bible Studies 3-4 times a week.
One of the reasons I eventually moved from being in ministry at the Baptist church to Calvary Chapel was the teaching of God’s Word.
At Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, there was a different Bible Study going on every night, and I seem to recall that every night was packed.
Though some teachers were more “exciting” to listen to than others, the man at the center of it all, Chuck Smith, was not a very dynamic speaker.  Some would consider him boring.  There was no PowerPoint. And he’d teach on Sunday nights for 2 ˝ hours.  But we couldn’t get enough of it.
So what happened to all of that?
I don’t think there’s a single, simple answer, but I wonder if one little element might be that the Temple has become a little cluttered, and we are so extremely distracted.
We have so much pulling at us, demanding our attention, whether it’s text messages, emails, YouTube, FaceBook, video games, NetFlix, politics, movies, and TV.

I am not blameless in this.

Video:  New Yorker – Dress for the moment

Distractions can get you sidetracked and into trouble.

And then there’s the distractions we might not even want to talk about, things like alcohol, drugs, or porn.

I wonder if we couldn’t all do with a little “Temple Cleansing” to get us to focus on what’s really important.
Jesus wanted the Temple to be a house of prayer.
Jesus filled the Temple with His teaching.