Jesus in the Temple (Luke 19:14-20:8)

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.  

20 One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. 2 “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”

3 He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me, 4 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or from men?”

5 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”

7 So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”

8 Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”  (Luke 19:45-20:8)

Learn it:

            Jesus is now in Jerusalem and even though his relationship with the Jewish leaders is already on thin ice, he goes and cleans out the temple.  In the temple, they are selling animals for the people to offer sacrifices but according to the law, they must be bought by using a Hebrew shekel, not in Roman currency.  What was happening was the people that were exchanging the money were not doing this exchange for free but charging a price.  Jesus did not like how commercialized the temple had become!  It was no longer just a place for worship.  He then removed all of these people from the temple to get it back to a house of prayer. 

            The chief priests and others are now looking for a way to kill Jesus because he was becoming a real problem for them.  As we have seen throughout the Gospel of Luke Jesus’ authority has been questioned a few times.  In response to this questioning, Jesus asks them a question.  He asks them about where John the Baptist gets his authority.  This is a question that puts them in a tight spot.  We can see that in the hearts of the chief priests they are more concerned about what people will think of them than what the truth really is. 

Live it:

            Sin can creep easily into our lives.  I am sure these services in the temple started out innocently enough.  The had for a long time had animals available for people to purchase in order to sacrifice them.  It the Hebrew shekel was the main currency there were no problems.  Over time the popular currency changed, and the temple still wanted there to be no obstacles for people to worship God.  Then greed began to slip in, and they wanted to make a little money from each transaction.  How careful do we need to be with sin in our lives?  It might seem like a convenience or meeting a need, but it can grow and quickly take over our lives. 

            The second thing we learn is from how the Pharisee’s response to Jesus’ question.  They care so much about their positions and wanting people to like them that they do not want to acknowledge the truth.  We must not let what other people think of us that we would shy away from the truth.  We must recognize that Jesus is the Son of God and has authority over all things.  Pray for boldness and that you would be able to claim to be a follower of Christ no matter who is asking.

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