Jesus in the Temple

(Matthew 21:14-17)

Jesus cleared the temple of the moneychangers and the pigeon sellers on his return to Jerusalem. He restored the temple to be a temple of praise and a house of prayer. He removed and cast out those who practised commerce in the temple, returning it to a place of teaching and worship of God.

In this section we now see Jesus in the temple. He shows us an example of how the temple should operate. We see three distinct aspects to this operation of the temple in this section of scripture.

First we see all the lame and the blind and those with various afflictions come to him in the temple and he healed them all. This was to fulfil the words of Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.” (Matthew 8:17, Isaiah 53:4) Second, we see Jesus teaching the people the words of God and the truth of the Kingdom of God. This is shown in following sections of this chapter. And finally we see the people praising Jesus, calling out “Hosanna to the Son of David.” As Jesus said to the priests and scribes, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast brought perfect praise.” (Verse 16)

But there is opposition from the priests and scribes. They were indignant at the people who were praising God and Jesus. And they were indignant at Jesus because of the many wondrous things he did there in the temple. But what was the basis of their indignation? Why were they indignant when it was clear that the work of God was being done in their midst? It was because they did not recognise Jesus as the Christ and Messiah. He was not the Messiah they wanted. They expected the Messiah to come in great power and glory and to be all that they thought he should be, not a man of the people. They were expecting a ruler, one of their own classes, not a teacher and healer. Their pre-conceived ideas and notions of what the Messiah was supposed to be meant they were unable to see the Messiah when he stood in the temple doing the works of God that no other man had ever done. So they refused to accept him and believe, and thus they missed out.

Jesus in the temple was the most natural thing that could have occurred. When Jesus was about twelve years of age and his family went up to Jerusalem, Jesus was found in the temple discussing things with the elders. When queried as to his whereabouts by his mother he said, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) So now as an adult when we see Jesus in the temple, he is simply going to his Father’s house again. He is taking his appointed place in his Father’s house to teach, heal and be with his people.

This provides a brief glimpse of what it will be like in the Lord’s Kingdom in the new heaven and earth. We see this description of what it will be like in Revelation 21:3-4, “…and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

When Jesus restored the temple to it’s correct functioning, this is what he was doing. This was a precursor to what it will be like in the New Jerusalem. God will be with his people as Jesus was with the people in the temple. God will wipe away every tear from his people’s eyes, as Jesus taught and helped his people who praised him in the temple. God will take away all sickness, mourning, crying and death, as Jesus healed all the infirmities of the people in the temple, and they did not mourn but sung perfect praise.

When Jesus came into the temple he restored things to how they should have been, albeit for a short time only. He gave us a glimpse of how things will be when he returns and all opposition is taken away. When God dwells with man after the last judgment it will be a time of great rejoicing. Peace and righteousness will reign and we will sing praises to God saying, “Hosanna to the King of Kings.”

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