Jesus Cleanses the Temple
To Remember: Our worship to God must be done correctly

Vocabulary

Worship: to serve and praise God as He asked

Story - Jesus Cleanses the Temple
Matthew 21:12-17

Jesus had been teaching, healing, and doing many wonderful works. It was time for the
Passover feast, an annual feast of the Jews. Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The people put their coats on the ground and cut branches from the trees and waved them as they cried out, "Hosanna in the highest!" It was a joyful triumphant occasion.
Jesus went into the temple and looked around at everything that was going on, but it
was late and he didn't stay. He and his twelve disciples went back to Bethany and spent the night.
Under the law of Moses people were required to offer animal sacrifices. If you had to travel a long way to get to the temple in Jerusalem, you would probably not take your animal with you. You would take some money and buy an animal for your offering after you got to Jerusalem. The next day they went back to Jerusalem and again Jesus went to the temple, but this time he took action. Men were selling the animals for sacrifices right there in the area of the temple! He knew this was not right and he did something about it. He made a whip out of cords, or small ropes and he drove the money changers out along with the sheep, oxen, and doves. He turned the tables over and poured out the money on the floor of the temple. He said, "Take these things away! My Father's house shall be called a house of prayer,
but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"
The Jewish religious leaders were very upset by all this and they began looking for a way to destroy Jesus. However, they were afraid of him because all the people were amazed at his teaching. Then blind and lame people came to him in the temple and he healed them. The children were crying out, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" When the religious leaders heard this, they said to him, "Do you hear what they are saying?" Of course, Jesus did hear and he accepted their praise. He told the leaders that this was "perfect praise" coming from the lips of the children.
Memory Verse
It is written, "My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"
Matthew 21:13 (NKJV)

Lesson:
John 2:13-16"The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!"
Jesus worshipped God in the temple somewhat like we worship God in the church building. When he went to the temple, however, he saw things he did not like. There were men selling animals and charging to trade money right inside the temple grounds. Jesus was very angry and turned over the tables and forced the merchants out. Why didn’t the merchants belong there? It was a place of worship, not a marketplace for men to make money. It was a holy place for meeting and serving God, and God was displeased with the commonness of the selling.

Is it possible to worship badly now, also? Yes. We can miss the point and worship to serve our own ends rather than God’s. How does God want us to worship Him? We should think about Him, not us. We should be thoughtful of others. We should try to learn all we can. We should behave ourselves, and not be disrespectful. We can do this by being quiet, listening to the speaker, singing the songs, and praying along with the congregation. Remember, worshipping God is like meeting Him in person. What could we do to displease God? Think about worldly things, talk when others are speaking, run around like it was a playground, be selfish, not think about God at all.


Discussion: Were Jesus' actions appropriate? Is there any time when we would be authorized to use such behavior in God's behalf? While we always look to Jesus as a pattern for our behavior, we must remember that Jesus was God's son. The temple was God's house, the home of Jesus' father. Jesus had authority there. He had the right to chase unwanted cheaters out of his father's house. It was his house, too. Just as our parents have the right to ask misbehaving guests to leave their home, Jesus had the authority to eject people from his father's house. His actions were based on his position, which is exactly what the Pharisees and others were challenging him on. They asked him, what authority do you have? He had it all, but they would not believe.

Object Lesson: If the people needed animals, wasn't it ok to sell to them? The concept was not evil, but it was how and where the merchants sold that angered Jesus. First, they did it in the temple, a place devoted to prayer and worship. Second, they cheated the people. Here's a nickel. Pretend that you have to make your offering in pennies. If you give me your nickel, I'll give you four pennies. Not fair, you say! Well, you need pennies, don't you? Where else are you going to get them? Does that make you angry? Am I taking advantage of you?

True / False

  1. Jesus was angry that the people were abusing the temple. T
  2. Jesus went to the priests to complain about the merchants. F
  3. True worship takes place within the heart. T
  4. There is no wrong way to worship. F
  5. We should be good during service because worshipping God is like meeting him. T
  6. God is pleased when we worship Him with a unselfish and honest heart. T
  7. Jesus had no business in the priest's temple. F
Review QuestionsLinguistic Questions
  1. Describe the temple.
  2. Define anger.
  3. What does it mean to have authority? to be the person who makes decisions, or sets the rules
Activity Questions
  1. Identify the court of the Gentiles on a map of the temple grounds.
  2. Act out a person who is angry? Describe the elements.
  3. Draw a dove, one of the animals sold in the temple.
Emotion Questions
  1. How was Jesus feeling when he saw the temple grounds? angry
  2. Was Jesus sinning when he was angry? no, feeling anger is not sinful, and he did nothing sinful as a result of his anger.
  3. How did the priests feel about Jesus' actions? they wanted to kill him, so they started trying to find evidence against him
Application Questions
  1. How can I handle my anger correctly? Understand why you are angry, make no actions or rash statements while still angry, give yourself time to calm down.
  2. How should we approach worship? worship is a time of focused devotion to pleasing God, not an opportunity for profit, or even entertainment.
  3. Where did Jesus get his authority? Jesus was the son of God, and a pleasing servant of his.
Fact Questions
  1. What made Jesus angry? The temple was to be a house of prayer, and they had made it a place of profit and cheating.
  2. What did Jesus do in the temple? He chased out the merchants and overturned the tables of the money-changers
  3. What was the temple for? Prayer and worship to God. A place to approach God.
Review Questions
  1. How do we worship? prayer, song, communion, teaching
  2. Is anger sinful? Anger itself is not. But we commonly sin in reaction to it.
  3. How did the priests respond to this chastening? they got angry and tried to build a case against Jesus.
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