Jesus Assaults the Temple. If Jesus were to live in our time would he attack Washington DC? Would he attack the Capital or the White House? Or would he attack the church? Is Washington the problem? As long as things were wrong in their temple, things would be wrong. As long as things are wrong in the church and it’s not doing its job, things will be wrong. Would Jesus run out congressmen and the president with a whip, or would he run out  us preachers?

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 19

Jesus Assaults the Temple (Luke 19:45-20:8)

By Pastor Delbert Young

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Jesus Assaults the Temple (Luke 19:45 – 20:8)

Scriptures: Luke 19:28, Daniel 9:25-26, Luke 19:29-34, Luke 19:35-36, Zechariah 9:9, Luke 19:37-38, Luke 19:39, Luke 19:40, Habakkuk 2:11, Luke 19:41, Luke 19:42-44

Jewish people came from every known nation to Jerusalem for Passover. Yesterday Jesus entered Jerusalem in the Triumphal Entry on a carpet of garments and foliage. The crowd cheered with loud voices, the religious leaders sneered with scowled faces, and Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Mark’s gospel says Jesus “…went to the temple. He looked around, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve” (Mar 11:11). The day we study was either Monday or Tuesday. Jesus was back in Jerusalem and headed for the temple.

Luke 19:45 Then he entered the temple area and began DRIVING OUT those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”

(Also see Mat 21:12-13; Mar 11:15-17; Joh 2:13-16) No matter how interpreted, Jesus was angry and violent. The Greek word for driving out is ekballo {ek-bal’-lo} – to cast out, drive out, to send out. It’s the same word used when Jesus cast out/drove out demons. Can you hear his voice! This was another shocking display by Jesus to purposefully escalate the situation and bring more attention to him from those wanting to kill him. He wanted to be on the cross Friday.

The crowd hailed Jesus as king. People would expect the king to attack the palace of Pilate the Roman governor. According to their theology the Messiah would attack Rome. Instead, he assaulted the temple, the heart of Judaism. He attacked the most respected and elevated monument in the Jewish religion. Yet it was the most corrupt element in the Jewish religion. He could have gone any place and attacked anything, but he chose to attack the temple.

The Roman oppression of Israel was not their problem. Their problem was religious corruption. Jesus was not concerned with the people’s relationship with Rome. Jesus was concerned with the people’s relationship with God. Jesus was not concerned about politics, or military and social reformation. He was concerned about salvation, so Jesus assaulted the temple.

If Jesus were to live in our time would he attack Washington DC? Would he attack the Capital or the White House? Or would he attack the church? Is Washington the problem? As long as things were wrong in their temple, things would be wrong. As long as things are wrong in the church and it’s not doing its job, things will be wrong. Would Jesus run out congressmen and the president with a whip, or would he run out preachers?

John’s gospel tells us the ministry of Jesus the Christ began this way.

John 2:15-16 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!”

Jesus began his ministry this way and his ministry ends this way. The things of God were turned into commercialism. It’s this way today in the “Holy Land.” You can buy water from the Sea of Galilee, dirt from the Holy Land, or a crown of thorns made from a bush like the Roman soldiers made the crown of thorns.

In the Court of the Gentiles in the temple the money changers set up shop. Every person must pay the temple tax, but must use temple coinage (Tyrian). For an extravagant fee money changerschanged Roman currency into the temple currency for those coming from different countries. It’s like our going to a foreign country and needing exchange American currency for theirs to purchase.

They also sold animals and birds for sacrifices. Imagine the noise, stench, and the chaos of the place. People could bring their own sacrifice, but the sacrifice must pass the inspection of the priests. You can imagine how this worked out. Something was found “imperfect” forcing the purchase of a price gouged temple sacrifice. Annas and Caiaphas, the appointed high priests, had a financial empire by this extortion. Passover was the most lucrative time, but what could you do? Well, Jesus did something. He assaulted the temple.

It was a nauseous stockyard to Jesus. He was repulsed. It was corruption and thievery in the name of God with no concern for God. It was about milking the poor (excuse my pun). It needed cleansing in more ways than one.

Luke 19:46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘MY HO– USE will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a DEN OF ROBBERS.'”

The word translated den is spelaion {spay’-lah-yon} – a cave, den. He said, “My house…!” Jesus said they’d corrupted his house. Jesus quoted from Isaiah 56:7 saying the house of God would be a house of prayer for all nations and people. The purity of worship was corrupted. The purity of prayer was corrupted. You’ve turned it into a petting zoo, a circus, and a cave hide out for robbers.

Luke 19:45 Then he entered the temple area and BEGAN DRIVING OUT THOSE WHO WERE SELLING.

How does one man shut such a massive operation down? There had to be hundreds of vendors. You know they didn’t leave willingly without a fight or any resistance. Matthew gives more information as to what happened.

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.

Jesus didn’t say, “Hey guys, you’ve got to stop doing this. Please leave.” This was physical. He physically flipped the tables. Imagine the violence? How long did this last? Something about Jesus had to be physically threatening enough to stop anyone from challenging him.

Mark 11:16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.

They left without their stuff. How did one man do this? I enjoy watching cage fighting – UFC and MMA. Judy thinks something’s wrong with me, but watching Jesus do this would be better than cage fighting. I’d like to see this. Maybe God has it on DVR. I also wonder what the disciples were doing. I’ve got a lot of questions on this.

It’s easy to point out Jesus turning their tables over, but what about our tables and beasts and foul things? Has Jesus ever come into your life and kicked over tables, pointed out your beasts, and opened the cages of your “foul ways”? You had everything set exactly where you wanted it. Yes, it stunk, but it was your petting zoo. It was your circus and your barnyard. You liked it, or thought you did. Jesus kicked it over. You are the temple of God, right?

1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that YOU YOURSELVES ARE GOD’S TEMPLE and that God’s Spirit lives in you?

Have you ever corrupted the temple of God?

Luke 19:47-48 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. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the PEOPLE HUNG ON HIS WORDS.

Jesus was teaching every day at the temple. It’s as if he took it over, but how did Jesus get by with assaulting the temple? Primarily the people were on his side. It doesn’t say it, but does insinuate it. I see the people cheering him on. They knew the temple was a rip off. When he went on his tirade, I see the people applauding saying, “Yea Jesus! Go! Go! Go!” They may have joined in. Perhaps this is how he did it. At any rate, the leaders were trying to kill him. This sealed the deal. Jesus was a marked man. Two straws “broke the camels back” as far as the Jewish leadership were concerned: (1) The raising of Lazarus from the dead (Joh 11:53); and (2) assaulting the temple. It was only a matter of finding him where a mob of people were not present. They would, but not until Jesus said it was time.

People hung on his words. What an amazing teacher Jesus is. They came every day to hear him talk and teach. The majority of the ministry of Jesus Christ was teaching. I want to take this opportunity to express what an honor it’s been for me to have been allowed to teach you the gospel of the kingdom of God for nearly three decades. Many of you came nearly every day I taught. Judy and I discuss how miraculous this is – that you would come listen to me talk for nearly thirty years, but imagine listening to Jesus!

Luke 20:1 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.

This would be the next day – Tuesday or Wednesday. Jesus was back in the temple teaching. The KJV says they “came upon him” ephistemi {ef-is’-tay-mee} – to stand over one, place one’s self above, of persons coming upon one suddenly. Until now it’s simply been Jesus and the Pharisees going at it. That was kid stuff compared to this. The temple incident brought out the “big dogs.” Jesus was unafraid and teaching in the same temple immediately after assaulting it. Look who showed up – the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders. The chief priestswould be those directly under Annas and Caiaphas the High Priests. The teachers of the law and elders would be their Supreme Court Justices. These were the highest ranking and impressive leaders of Israel. Jesus assaulting the temple succeeded in angering them all the way to the top.

Luke 20:2 “Tell us by what authority you are doing THESE THINGS,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”

What things? Who gave you authority to ride into town like a Messiah? We didn’t give you a parade permit. Who gave you authority to assault our temple? Who do you think you are? You’re way over the line! Who gave you authority to teach every day in our temple and take it over with these large crowds? You’re not ordained by any Sanhedrin denomination. You haven’t submitted to any of us.

Every rabbi teaching in the temple was supposed to have grad-school degrees, ordained and approved by an ordained Rabbi. This was to stop unapproved doctrine. They asked Jesus where he acquired his Rabbinical Degree. Where did you get this kingdom doctrine you teach? They knew Jesus didn’t have his ordination papers and thought Jesus would say “No one gave me authority.” When he did, they could brand him as a rebel, banish him from teaching in the temple, and the people would agree and understand. If he said God gave him authority they could label him as a blasphemer and arrest him.

Have you ever sort of asked this? You read the Bible and perhaps questioned, “Who gave the Bible authority to tell me how to live? I certainly didn’t.” Or maybe a preacher taught something kicking over your tables and disturbing your beasts and fowls. You thought, “Who do you think you are preacher? Who gave you the authority to tell me right and wrong?” This happens a lot today. How did Jesus handle it?

Luke 20:3-4 He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me, John’s baptism — was it from heaven, or from men?”

Mark 11:30 John’s baptism — was it from heaven, or from men? TELL ME!”

This wasn’t a nice gentlemanly discussion. They hated Jesus and Jesus had no use for them. Jesus answered with a question. He didn’t avoid the question. He revealed their hypocrisy. If they answered the question correctly they would answer their own question. Was John the Baptist from God, or was John just a man doing his own thing? Who gave John his authority, God or John?

Luke 20:5-7 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”

Either way they answered would bring more dilemmas upon themselves. They would either admit Jesus was the Messiah as John the Baptist said, or deny John was a prophet angering the people to possibly riot and a riot was the last thing they wanted. A riot would bring in the Romans, declare a state of emergency, and shut down everything. They were stumped, so, “We don’t know.”

Has Jesus ever stumped you? Has the Bible every stumped you? Has a preacher ever stumped you? You knew the correct answer, but if you admitted it, it meant you were wrong. We’d have to admit the Bible and the preacher were right and had authority from heaven.

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

The Jewish leaders were in a lethal cosmic chess match with God. People do this. We’ve all done this thinking somehow we will checkmate Jesus. Let me tell you, you can’t win. I’ve tried. Even if you think you’ve won and have God checkmated, he will rise from the dead. Don’t question the authority of Jesus. Just admit Jesus gets his authority from God.

Other Related Sermons:

Great Tribulation and Olivet Discourse – video audio notes Revelation

Revelation Chapter 21 – New heaven new earth, New Jerusalem the Bride the Lamb’s wife, foursquare city – sermon video audio notes

Revelation Chapter 11, Two Witnesses – sermon video audio notes