Search
  • wkaysix

39 The Cleansing of the Temple and Violence

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Join us as we look carefully at the cleansing of the Temple and discover why the sellers left the temple area afraid of Jesus and yet the children and those in need of healing came to Jesus and were apparently not afraid. Many look casually at this story and conclude that Jesus used violence to clear the temple, a conclusion that is far from the truth.




39 The Cleansing of the Temple and . .
Download • 160KB

SHOW NOTES


The Cleansing of the Temple

This is one of the three incidents in which it appears that Jesus used force or violence to get His own way. The other two incidents are the Acursing@ of the fig tree and the denouncing of the religious leaders. We also keep in mind that Jesus taught we are not to resist evil people (Matthew 5:39). The scriptural passages which describe this event are as follows. Matthew 21:12 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. 13 AIt is written, he said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” 14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. 16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise” 17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night. Matthew 21:23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?” (Matthew focusses on the Authority here and in 9:1-8; 16:19; 28:18) Mark 11:15 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, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 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.” 18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. 19 When evening came, they went out of the city. (Mark adds transport of merchandise through the court.) Luke 19:45 Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. 46 “It is written,” he said to them, “My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 Every day he was teaching at the temple.


But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words. John 2:13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 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. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” (Only John mentions sheep, cattle, and a whip.)

Two cleansings indicated

The trading referred to above would have taken place in the outermost court, the court where the Gentiles could come to pray. Part of Jesus’ outrage was because the Gentiles now had no place to worship with the corrupt commercialism going on in the only place they were allowed to worship. Apparently the temple cleansing occurred twice. John’s record places a

cleansing at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry while the other three Gospels place a cleansing at the end of His ministry. It seems the first cleansing had very little lasting effect since it had to be repeated three years later. Why did the traders leave? Why did the traders leave the court? Was it because they were physically afraid of a violent carpenter from Nazareth? No! While a whip is mentioned in John’s cleansing there is no mention of any “weapon” in the other accounts. There were temple police to deal with violent worshippers, but they were never called. The records above are clear that the whip was for the sheep and cattle. Furthermore, there is no record of Jesus using the whip on man or beast. The whip was a sign to both man and beast that the animals had to go. It was a sign not a weapon. Overturning the tables also sent the same message to the money traders, “Get out!” There is no hint of physical violence against people. The traders left because they were guilty before the authority of truth which shone through Jesus, and they ran before Him. I automatically slow down when I see a car with pretty lights for the same reason. Necking teenagers untangle for the same reason when the lights come on. Later the priests and elders would ask Jesus by whose or what authority He had commanded the traders to leave thus allowing the handicapped and the children in. From the priest’s query it is clear that the traders left because of His authority and not because of His whip. He also did not use the whip to bring the unfortunates and the children into the temple court and the question about authority had to do with all of what happened that day. This authority was not only about driving out traders and their wares but inviting those in who did not always feel free to be there or to sing there! As the traders left the lame and the blind flocked in. If some of these were Levites they could never have served as priests (Leviticus 21:18) and thus all the lame and blind were probably not welcome except in the Gentile court. It might be for this reason that the lame man, whom Peter and John healed, was sitting outside the court at the gate Beautiful (Acts 3:1-10). The children also recognized

that Jesus was a friendly man, and they took the liberty of raising their voices in praise. If Jesus had showed Himself as an angry, violent man only the temple police would have felt free to enter.

The cleansing is prophetic

This event is prophetic of Jesus’ return in glory when the guilty will again run from Him and call on the rocks and mountains to fall on them (Revelation 6:15- 17). This event is also indicative of Jesus desire to cleanse the soul temple from the trafficking of sin (Malachi 3:1-3). Jesus would say, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19). He is referring to His body. Paul will catch the parallel and warn, “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1Corinthians 6:19). The ultimate cleansing must occur within the human heart and this is looked forward to by the New Covenant promises of replacing the cold, stone heart with a warm, flesh heart (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:10-12) Often when this story is read assumptions are made that are unwarranted considering the rest of Jesus’ life. The use of violence is so common that we can hardly imagine life without violence. How would police protect us? How would we defend our country? Would we all become vegans? Jesus’ teaching envisioned a life without violence. This possibility is difficult to imagine. Matthew 5:39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. While Jesus violently opposed injustice there is no recorded use of violence by him against any person. His opposition to the use of violence is easily documented. On the night of His arrest Peter slashed at the high priest’s servant with his sword and only managed to cut off his ear. Jesus quickly healed the man’s ear and told His disciples to put away their swords. He was intent on revealing the Kingdom of Heaven, not reinforcing their petty preoccupation with “an eye for an eye.” The relevant passages are below.

Matthew 26:47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, AGreetings, Rabbi!@ and kissed him. 50 Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Luke 22:47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. John 18: 1 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 “I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest=s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant=s name was Malchus.) 11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” If ever there was a time when we would be tempted to use all the force we had at our command it would have been at this moment of apprehension by the mob. When people had tried to take Jesus by force in the past He had simply evaded them. This time He chose to experience the violence and force of evil. He had to absorb it into Himself and soak it up like a sponge. It is the only way to deal with violence if it is to be destroyed. We must absorb it without retaliation. The early Christians soaked it up in the Roman Circus as they were fed to the lions, as they were tortured and executed, but the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church and as a result the Church grew exponentially with persecution. When Jesus says, “Take up your cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24) he is including the possibility of a martyrs death. I find this scary. This discussion must consider one more passage to bring some closure to the use of the sword by Jesus. Luke 22:33 But he (Peter) replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will

deny three times that you know me.” 35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. 36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: >And he was numbered with the transgressors;’ and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” 38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That is enough,” he replied.

What it means to buy a sword!

What did Jesus mean by buying a sword? First of all He did not mean to literally buy a sword. We can be sure of this because when Peter used a sword a few hours later Jesus rebuked him. Also, because when they had gone on journeys before they had never had to take a sword or anything else, and by their own confession they had never experienced any lack. What Jesus meant was that they were about to be violently rejected by men. They would have to take a purse and a bag and would need to anticipate this new attitude. It was not to come as a surprise to them. That they understood what Jesus was saying is evident in their non-violent responses after Pentecost. Furthermore, it is clear that only two swords for 12 men were a completely inadequate means of protection or escape. When Jesus said: “That is enough!” He meant that two swords are two swords too many. When before Pilate, Jesus states the modus operandi of His kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven: John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” Jesus never used violence under any circumstances. Jesus attributes the origin and continuance of violence to the devil. He says:

“The thief (devil) comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come to bring life, abundant life” (John 10:10). Stealing, killing and destroying are the very opposite of what Messiah came to do. He came to give abundant life, to create happiness and joy! Matthew, quoting from Isaiah (42:1-4 NLT), wrote the following: “He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public” (12:19 NLT). Thus we have two witnesses, Isaiah and Matthew to the non-violent way Jesus lived his life. Isaiah also wrote prophetically, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth” (53:7). Peter is also of this opinion: He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge He left his case in the hands of God who always judges fairly” (1 Peter 2:22-23).

The Gentleness of God and his People (30 passages)

1 Kings 19:12 After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Isaiah 30:18-19 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Isaiah 40:1-2 “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” Isaiah 40:11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. Isaiah 54:8 “In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the Lord your Redeemer. Isaiah 63:15 Look down from heaven and see from Your holy and glorious habitation; Where are Your zeal and Your mighty deeds? The stirrings of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained toward me. Hosea 2:13-15 “I will punish her for the days of the Baals when she used to offer sacrifices to them and adorn herself with her earrings and jewelry, and follow her lovers, so that she forgot Me,” declares the Lord. “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her. “Then I will give her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 11:29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 12:18-21 “Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in

whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles. “He will not quarrel, nor cry out; Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. “A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory. (Cp Isaiah 42:1-3) Matthew 21:4-5 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” Mark 1:40-42 And a leper *came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and *said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Mark 10:13-16 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” Luke 1:76-79 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, John 8:3-11 The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” Romans 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 2 Corinthians 10:1 Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Ephesians 4:1-2 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, Philippians 4:5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Colossians 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 1 Thessalonians 2:7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. 1 Timothy 6:11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. Titus 3:1-2 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. Hebrews 5:2 he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself

also is beset with weakness; James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 1 Peter 3:15-16 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. Jesus is dogmatic about his non-violent nature. What a gentle Saviour we have!

Ian Hartley September 2020.


EW Comments: With searching glance, Christ takes in the scene before Him as He stands upon the steps of the temple court. With prophetic eye He looks into futurity, and sees not only years, but centuries and ages. He sees how priests and rulers will turn the needy from their right and forbid that the gospel shall be preached to the poor. He sees how the love of God will be concealed from sinners, and men will make merchandise of His grace. As He beholds the scene, indignation, authority, and power are expressed in His countenance. The attention of the people is attracted to Him. The eyes of those engaged in their unholy traffic are riveted upon His face. They cannot withdraw their gaze. They feel that this Man reads their inmost thoughts and discovers their hidden motives. Some attempt to conceal their faces, as if their evil deeds were written upon their countenances, to be scanned by those searching eyes. {DA 157.4} The confusion is hushed. The sound of traffic and bargaining has ceased. The silence becomes painful. A sense of awe overpowers the assembly. It is as if they were arraigned before the tribunal of God to answer for their deeds. Looking upon Christ, they behold divinity flash through the garb of humanity. The Majesty of heaven stands as the Judge will stand at the last day,--not now encircled with the glory that will then attend Him, but with the same power to read the soul. His eye sweeps over the multitude, taking in every individual. His form seems to rise above them in commanding dignity, and a divine light illuminates His countenance. He speaks, and His clear, ringing voice--the same that upon Mount Sinai proclaimed the law that priests and rulers are transgressing—is heard echoing through the arches of the temple: "Take these things hence; make not My Father's house an house of merchandise." {DA 158.1} Slowly descending the steps and raising the scourge of cords gathered up on entering the enclosure, He bids the bargaining company depart from the precincts of the temple. With a zeal and severity He has never before manifested, He overthrows the tables of the money-changers. The coin falls, ringing sharply upon the marble pavement. None presume to question His authority. None dare stop to gather up their ill-gotten gain. Jesus does not smite them with the whip of cords, but in His hand that simple scourge seems terrible as a flaming sword. Officers of

the temple, speculating priests, brokers and cattle traders, with their sheep and oxen, rush from the place, with the one thought of escaping from the condemnation of His presence. {DA 158.2} A panic sweeps over the multitude, who feel the overshadowing of His divinity. Cries of terror escape from hundreds of blanched lips. Even the disciples tremble. They are awestruck by the words and manner of Jesus, so unlike His usual demeanor. They remember that it is written of Him, "The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up." Ps. 69:9. Soon the tumultuous throng with their merchandise are far removed from the temple of the Lord. The courts are free from unholy traffic, and a deep silence and solemnity settles upon the scene of confusion. The presence of the Lord, that of old sanctified the mount, has now made sacred the temple reared in His honor. {DA 158.3} In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was announcing His mission as the Messiah, and entering upon His work. That temple, erected for the abode of the divine Presence, was designed to be an object lesson for Israel and for the world. From eternal ages it was God's purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator. Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One. But by the incarnation of the Son of God, the purpose of Heaven is fulfilled. God dwells in humanity, and through saving grace the heart of man becomes again His temple. God designed that the temple at Jerusalem should be a continual witness to the high destiny open to every soul. But the Jews had not understood the significance of the building they regarded with so much pride. They did not yield themselves as holy temples for the Divine Spirit. The courts of the temple at Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts. In cleansing the temple from the world's buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin,--from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul. "The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the

day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver." Mal. 3:1-3. {DA 161.1} "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Cor. 3:16, 17. No man can of himself cast out the evil throng that have taken possession of the heart. Only Christ can cleanse the soul temple. But He will not force an entrance. He comes not into the heart as to the temple of old; but He says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him." Rev. 3:20. He will come, not for one day merely; for He says, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; . . . and they shall be My people." "He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." 2 Cor. 6:16; Micah 7:19. His presence will cleanse and sanctify the soul, so that it may be a holy temple unto the Lord, and "an habitation of God through the Spirit." Eph. 2:21, 22. {DA 161.2} Overpowered with terror, the priests and rulers had fled from the temple court, and from the searching glance that read their hearts. In their flight they met others on their way to the temple, and bade them turn back, telling them what they had seen and heard. Christ looked upon the fleeing men with yearning pity for their fear, and their ignorance of what constituted true worship. In this scene He saw symbolized the dispersion of the whole Jewish nation for their wickedness and impenitence. {DA 162.1} And why did the priests flee from the temple? Why did they not stand their ground? He who commanded them to go was a carpenter's son, a poor Galilean, without earthly rank or power. Why did they not resist Him? Why did they leave the gain so ill acquired, and flee at the command of One whose outward appearance was so humble? {DA 162.2} Christ spoke with the authority of a king, and in His appearance, and in the tones of His voice, there was that which they had no power to resist. At the word of command they realized, as they had never realized before, their true position as

hypocrites and robbers. When divinity flashed through humanity, not only did they see indignation on Christ's countenance; they realized the import of His words. They felt as if before the throne of the eternal Judge, with their sentence passed on them for time and for eternity. For a time they were convinced that Christ was a prophet; and many believed Him to be the Messiah. The Holy Spirit flashed into their minds the utterances of the prophets concerning Christ. Would they yield to this conviction? {DA 162.3} Repent they would not. They knew that Christ's sympathy for the poor had been aroused. They knew that they had been guilty of extortion in their dealings with the people. Because Christ discerned their thoughts they hated Him. His public rebuke was humiliating to their pride, and they were jealous of His growing influence with the people. They determined to challenge Him as to the power by which He had driven them forth, and who gave Him this power. {DA 162.4} Slowly and thoughtfully, but with hate in their hearts, they returned to the temple. But what a change had taken place during their absence! When they fled, the poor remained behind; and these were now looking to Jesus, whose countenance expressed His love and sympathy. With tears in His eyes, He said to the trembling ones around Him: AFear not; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me. For this cause came I into the world.@ {DA 162.5} The people pressed into Christ's presence with urgent, pitiful appeals: Master, bless me. His ear heard every cry. With pity exceeding that of a tender mother He bent over the suffering little ones. All received attention. Everyone was healed of whatever disease he had. The dumb opened their lips in praise; the blind beheld the face of their Restorer. The hearts of the sufferers were made glad. {DA 163.1} As the priests and temple officials witnessed this great work, what a revelation to them were the sounds that fell on their ears! The people were relating the story of the pain they had suffered, of their disappointed hopes, of painful days and sleepless nights. When the last spark of hope seemed to be dead, Christ had healed them. The burden was so heavy, one said; but I have found a helper. He is the Christ of God, and I will devote my life to His service. Parents said to their children, He has saved your life; lift up your voice and praise Him. The

voices of children and youth, fathers and mothers, friends and spectators, blended in thanksgiving and praise. Hope and gladness filled their hearts. Peace came to their minds. They were restored soul and body, and they returned home, proclaiming everywhere the matchless love of Jesus. {DA 163.2} He had driven out the buyers and sellers from the temple. His voice had spoken to their hearts with the power of God. Amazed and terrified, they had obeyed His command without excuse or resistance. {COL 272.3} When their terror was abated, the priests and elders, returning to the temple, had found Christ healing the sick and the dying. They had heard the voice of rejoicing and the song of praise. In the temple itself the children who had been restored to health were waving palm branches and singing hosannas to the Son of David. Baby voices were lisping the praises of the mighty Healer. Yet with the priests and elders all this did not suffice to overcome their prejudice and jealousy. {COL 273.1} The next day, as Christ was teaching in the temple, the chief priests and elders of the people came to Him and said, "By what authority doest Thou these things? and who gave Thee this authority?" {COL 273.2} The priests and elders had had unmistakable evidence of Christ's power. In His cleansing of the temple they had seen Heaven's authority flashing from His face. They could not resist the power by which He spoke. Again in His wonderful deeds of healing He had answered their question. He had given evidence of His authority which could not be controverted. But it was not evidence that was wanted. The priests and elders were anxious for Jesus to proclaim Himself the Messiah that they might misapply His words and stir up the people against Him. They wished to destroy His influence and to put Him to death. {COL 273.3} Again the piercing look of Jesus swept over the desecrated court of the temple. All eyes were turned toward Him. Priest and ruler, Pharisee and Gentile, looked with astonishment and awe upon Him who stood before them with the majesty of heaven's King. Divinity flashed through humanity, investing Christ with a dignity and glory He had never manifested before. Those standing nearest Him drew as far

away as the crowd would permit. Except for a few of His disciples, the Saviour stood alone. Every sound was hushed. The deep silence seemed unbearable. Christ spoke with a power that swayed the people like a mighty tempest: "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." His voice sounded like a trumpet through the temple. The displeasure of His countenance seemed like consuming fire. With authority He commanded, "Take these things hence." John 2:16. {DA 590.4} Three years before, the rulers of the temple had been ashamed of their flight before the command of Jesus. They had since wondered at their own fears, and their unquestioning obedience to a single humble Man. They had felt that it was impossible for their undignified surrender to be repeated. Yet they were now more terrified than before, and in greater haste to obey His command. There were none who dared question His authority. Priests and traders fled from His presence, driving their cattle before them. {DA 591.1} On the way from the temple they were met by a throng who came with their sick inquiring for the Great Healer. The report given by the fleeing people caused some of these to turn back. They feared to meet One so powerful, whose very look had driven the priests and rulers from His presence. But a large number pressed through the hurrying crowd, eager to reach Him who was their only hope. When the multitude fled from the temple, many had remained behind. These were now joined by the newcomers. Again the temple court was filled by the sick and the dying, and once more Jesus ministered to them. {DA 592.1} After a season the priests and rulers ventured back to the temple. When the panic had abated, they were seized with anxiety to know what would be the next movement of Jesus. They expected Him to take the throne of David. Quietly returning to the temple, they heard the voices of men, women, and children praising God. Upon entering, they stood transfixed before the wonderful scene. They saw the sick healed, the blind restored to sight, and deaf receive their hearing, and the crippled leap for joy. The children were foremost in the rejoicing. Jesus had healed their maladies; He had clasped them in His arms, received their kisses of grateful affection, and some of them had fallen asleep upon His breast as He was teaching the people. Now with glad voices the children sounded His praise.

They repeated the hosannas of the day before, and waved palm branches triumphantly before the Saviour. The temple echoed and re-echoed with their acclamations, "Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord!" "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; He is just, and having salvation!" Ps. 118:26; Zech. 9:9. "Hosanna to the Son of David!" {DA 592.2} The sound of these happy, unrestrained voices was an offense to the rulers of the temple. They set about putting a stop to such demonstrations. They represented to the people that the house of God was desecrated by the feet of the children and the shouts of rejoicing. Finding that their words made no impression on the people, the rulers appealed to Christ: "Hearest Thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?" Prophecy had foretold that Christ should be proclaimed as king, and that word must be fulfilled. The priests and rulers of Israel refused to herald His glory, and God moved upon the children to be His witnesses. Had the voices of the children been silent, the very pillars of the temple would have sounded the Saviour's praise. {DA 592.3} The Pharisees were utterly perplexed and disconcerted. One whom they could not intimidate was in command. Jesus had taken His position as guardian of the temple. Never before had He assumed such kingly authority. Never before had His words and works possessed so great power. He had done marvelous works throughout Jerusalem, but never before in a manner so solemn and impressive. In presence of the people who had witnessed His wonderful works, the priests and rulers dared not show Him open hostility. Though enraged and confounded by His answer, they were unable to accomplish anything further that day. {DA 593.1} The next morning the Sanhedrin again considered what course to pursue toward Jesus. Three years before, they had demanded a sign of His Messiahship. Since that time He had wrought mighty works throughout the land. He had healed the sick, miraculously fed thousands of people, walked upon the waves, and spoken peace to the troubled sea. He had repeatedly read the hearts of men as an open book; He had cast out demons and raised the dead. The rulers had before them the evidences of His Messiahship. They now decided to demand no sign of His authority, but to draw out some admission or declaration by which He might be condemned.

{DA 593.2}

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

In Genesis 5 are the genealogies of Adam and Cain. Be amazed with us with the many nuggets of insight we discover hidden in what is usually a very boring chapter. Methuselah lived longer than anyone e

In Genesis 4 we discover a God that is lonely for his child, Abel, who has just been murdered by his brother Cain. My how rapidly the venture with the devil away from God results in such a tragic even

As our series in Genesis continues we look at chapter 3 where the story takes a sudden twist. Adam and Eve transition from following God to following Satan and the tragic consequences that come as a r