Cleansing the Sanctuary

Lesson 10

Jesus was visibly grieved as He entered the temple courtyard and surveyed the turmoil. On every hand He saw pens filled with sacrifice animals and heard salesman shouting and bargaining with visiting pilgrims for the highest price. The cooing of doves, bleating of sheep, and lowing of oxen mingled together with the odors of a barnyard to form a concert of chaos. This bedlam was never God's plan.

When Solomon built the first temple in Jerusalem, there was such respect for God's house that not even the sound of a hammer could be heard during its construction. All the stones and boards were pre-cut elsewhere, then brought to the temple site and quietly assembled (1 Kings 6:7).

Jesus found a handful of cords used for restraining the sheep and tied them into a small whip. Then the Son of God called out in trumpet-like tones: "Take these things hence make not my Father's house an house of merchandise." John 2:16. "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer but ye have made it a den of thieves." Matthew 21:13. Moving from one booth to another, He then released the animals and overturned the moneychangers' tables.

Sensing they were in the presence of Omnipotence, the terrified merchants fled from the temple courtyard without looking back. Jesus wanted more than anything for people to have a clear concept of His heavenly Father's love and purity. This is why it broke His heart to see the holy temple turned into a flea market.

Many years earlier, the prophet Daniel had foretold of another time when the temple would be defiled, God's truth would be distorted, and His people oppressed. And once again, the Lord would come to cleanse His sanctuary.