Cleaning Out the Temple

Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15-16; Luke 19:45

Cleaning Out the Temple

After He entered Jerusalem, Jesus went to the holy temple. The temple was the house of God and He had called it His Father’s house. When Jesus entered the temple He was not happy with what He saw. Two years earlier, Jesus had run through the temple, throwing out all the loud and greedy people but they had come back.

The moneychangers forced the people to pay high prices for the animals they must buy as sacrifices. As a result many poor people became even poorer whenever they went to the temple to worship God. That was not the way God wanted the poor to be treated. Jesus knew this and as he looked around  He became angry.

“No!” He cried out. “This is my Father’s house, you cannot do this!”

He ran and turned the moneychangers’ tables over and coins splashed onto the ground. People shrieked as they ran in every direction and birds escaped their cages and flew frantically out the windows as Jesus went from corner to corner, throwing all the greedy people out. Jesus rushed from one side of the temple to the other. He yelled at the moneychangers. “God said that this place was to be a house of prayer, you have turned it into a robbers’ den!”

When He had finished, Jesus stopped and looked around. The temple was empty, except for His followers and a few unhappy religious leaders. Slowly, blind and crippled people entered the temple again. They wanted Jesus to heal them and so again and again He reached out His hand and made sick people better. The children who saw these things danced around Jesus. They held hands while their voices rang against the temple walls. “Hosanna to the Son of David!”

Instead of a robbers’ den, the temple had become a place of joy. The only people who were not happy about the changes in the temple were the Pharisees.

“Listen to those silly children.” they sneered and pointed.

Jesus replied. “Haven’t you read the part of Scripture which says little children and babies will bring praise to God?”

Everyone who heard Him teach in the temple that day was astonished at His wisdom. Jesus went over to the part of the temple called the treasury. There, people came and put money in a special box; it was their way of giving back to God what He had given to them. At least that was the way it was supposed to be but the religious leaders had turned the treasury into a place where the poor became poorer. There the rich looked very holy because they gave so much money but it was money they could easily do without.

Jesus and two of His disciples sat down and watched. They saw a poor woman, a widow who had hardly anything. She did not put in great amounts of money like the rich had; instead, she dropped two very small copper coins into the box which were hardly worth a penny.

“Did you see that?” Jesus asked His disciples. “The truth is poor widow put in more than all the other people added together. They gave just a little from what they had left over. They gave what they could easily afford but she gave all that she had left. When she gave those two coins, she gave all that she owned.”

The poor woman had given out of love because she trusted God would honor her gift. She knew He would help her continue on even after she had nothing left. She believed in God and loved Him enough to give back her last coin. Such trust is worth more than all the money in the world