Morning Bible Study
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
(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!”
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
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 temple – hieron – 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
Here’s a scale model found at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
:45 began to drive out those who bought and sold in it
Two things were going on:
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
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Of course, the exchange rates were high, with the people being ripped off and
the priests becoming wealthy from their cut.
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
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
The focus throughout our passage is the Temple. There are several ways we can apply these
For the New Testament believer, the Bible identifies two kinds of
1. Our individual bodies are considered a Temple.
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
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.
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
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.
den – spelaion – a cave,
thieves – lestes – 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 –
You might think of Aladdin’s 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
:46 My house is a house of prayer
Jesus quotes Isaiah:
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
Don’t forget what Jesus told us was His mission in life:
19:10 NKJV) for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was
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,
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
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
(1 Kings 8:30 NKJV)
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
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
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.”
:47 the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him
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.
:48 the people were very attentive to hear Him
were very attentive – ekkremamai
– 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
We have so much pulling at us, demanding our attention, whether it’s text
messages, emails, YouTube, FaceBook, video games, NetFlix, politics, movies, and
I am not blameless in this.
Video: New Yorker – Dress for the
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.