It’s Jesus’ final week on earth. He and his disciples were leaving the temple, which prompted this conversation:
One of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another, every one will be thrown down.”
Later, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew came to him him privately. They asked him when this would happen and what the sign would be of “his coming and of the end of the age.”
Jesus’ response blew their minds and still boggles theologians today. Few people have read this critically important passage — known as the Olivet Discourse — all the way through in one sitting. Don’t be one of those people. Please read it right now, asking the Spirit to help you dive deeeeeply into each word:
Here’s today’s selection:
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, 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! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”
His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
This week, we’ll be walking in Jesus’ footsteps to the cross and beyond.
What’s the first thing Jesus did after he got to Jerusalem? According to eyewitness reports:
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.
“It is written,” he said to them,
“‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’
but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'”
What made Jesus so angry? Prayer was being squeezed out by crass commercialism. When the disciples saw Jesus in action, they remembered these words: “zeal for your house will consume me” (Psalm 69:9, John 2:17). Jesus is dead serious about prayer. He wants his temple free from anything that might distract from that essential function.
What happened next? The “blind and lame came to him at the temple and he healed them” (Matthew 21:14). One witness added this chilling detail: the religious leaders “began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching” (Mark 12:18).
What does this have to do with us today? Here’s what the Bible says:
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
We’re God’s temple in the world today. We’re supposed to be a house of prayer. Ask Jesus to drive out anything in your life that’s getting in the way.