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Driven From The Temple

Shortly before the Passover week Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. He then rode a donkey colt on the Jericho road going through the Kidron valley into the city of Jerusalem where a several prophets of the past came into contact with wicked men. Knowing the same thing was going to happen to him during the next week he was thinking about the men he had sent over the years and how they had been rejected and killed. As he rode closer to the city, people were throwing Palm branches on the road giving him a triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Some were planning to make him king by force and set up his kingdom without knowing that the perfect sacrifice needed to die so man could be reconciled to God. When he arrived he went straight into the temple to inspect his fathers house before the atonement sacrifice took place, Christ had to purify his father's house from all leaven. Not liking what he saw he retired for the night and carefully considered his next move.

During that night Jesus prayerfully considered the matter and the following day returned to Jerusalem. On his way he hungered and seeing a fig tree off in the distance went to it for something to eat. When he arrived he found the fig tree before the figs had ripen. He knew what he had to do and because he was not in the best mood, he cursed the tree, which later withered and died. He resumed his trek to the temple to deal with the den of thieves that were infesting the temple with leaven. He was concerned why businessmen were buying and selling inside the temple and why they had the approval of the governing body of Priests. Making a whip of cords of what was readily available he began upset exchange tables and to drive those making a living in his father's house and were not there to pray. However, the Passover week was quickly approaching and made a forceful effort to rid the temple of leaven.

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'" Matthew 21:12-13

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: "'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'" Mark 11:15-17

We need to take special notice of Christís actions as he had zeal for his fatherís house but he his wrath was centered on the leaven found within the temple. Christ displayed his anger in a righteous manner after prayerfully considering the matter and consulting with his father. Jesus Christ personally demonstration of what was required of Israelite to rid their homes of leaven before the Day of Atonement. No leaven was to be found anywhere in Israel, but men had entered a sacred place of worship and turned it into a market place.  He saw that robbers and thieves acting as businessmen had profaned the sanctuary of God his father and used their stature to gain wealth for themselves. The actions of Jesus Christ affected the leadership of the synagogue, as some of the priests were ready to kill Jesus Christ. The priests that followed Christ began to grow and the temple leadership was terrified that Christ would ultimately destroy their power base.

During the Passover week the temple priests angrily asked Jesus by whose authority are you doing these things. With all this hatred for what Christ was doing in Israel he responded in love by answering the temple priest where he had his authority and why he drove the Money Changers forcibly out the temple.

"Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. "The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. 'They will respect my son,' he said. "But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.' So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time." Matt 21:33-41

What about the money Changers? Whenever Israel celebrated the Day of Atonement every male over the age of twenty paid a half-shekel tax into the temple treasury. However, the law stipulated that the tax had to be no more and no less than a half-shekel. The money exchangers were men who sold half-shekel coins for an exorbitant price especially when a half-shekel coin was not in general circulation. The temple Priests raised herds of sacrificial animals especially for the sacrifices at the temple and sold them to people who came great distances to sacrifice. This practice had to have been painful to Christ.

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" John 2:13-16

You donít necessary have to exchange money in the church to be involved with leaven in Godís sight. Sometimes taking advantage of other Christians, attending church for the wrong reason, and teaching without handling the word of God correctly can bring leaven into the church. Jesus spoke of the leaven of the Pharisees who taught the letter of the law but didn't apply what they taught. Instead they manipulated the law to their advantage and placed heavy burdens on their disciples. On the other hand, most Christians want the power of God to live the Christian life, but fail to have a personal relationship with God. In the same way they want to go to heaven when they die and live the way they consider to be good in their eyes.  

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