Matthew 21:12 – 17
Mat 21:12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.
Mat 21:13 He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you make it a den of robbers."
Mat 21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.
Mat 21:15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant,
Mat 21:16 and they said to him, "Do you hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, "'Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise'?"
Mat 21:17 And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.
I. Jesus’ Authority
A. What is happening?
1. Jesus drives out those who bought and sold AND money-changers.
2. Two doves might have cost 5 cents…. In the temple as much as $4.
3. Functional: travelers could not bring their own animals to sacrifice.
4. Purity: The court of the Gentiles… unclean… buffer to the holy.
5. The court of the Gentiles (and those who were physically imperfect) was full… people had difficult time entering the Temple…
(Imagine entering the Temple: It’s crowded, it’s loud, it smells bad, you have to watch where you step, and it’s a swirl of everything except praise and prayer….)
B. What is Jesus doing?
1. Jesus is clearing space for people to enter the Temple.
a. The religious leaders where “gatekeeping” (deciding who could enter and who could not.)
b. The religious leaders where distracting from the worship of God.
c. The people were being taken advantage of…
2. Jesus is claiming ownership: “My house.” [John 2:16]
a. When Jesus was asked for a sign: “Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” [John 2:19]
b. We are the temple of God: “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?” [1 Corinthians 3:16]
3. Jesus is challenge the authority of the religious leaders.
a. Religion is self-serving.
b. Jesus is self-sacrificing.
II. Our Power
A. “House of prayer”
1. Isaiah 56:7 “these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples."
a. Notice the key words: holy, joyful, accepted, prayer (FOR ALL PEOPLES)
b. The worship of God is an invitation FOR ALL.
And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. [Ezekiel 22:30]
2. It is a place for REPENTANCE (“sacrifices”)
a. “Holy” means separate (clean)
b. The bringing of sacrifices was generally in repentance, acknowledgment of sin and the penalty.
c. PRAYER: our direct communication with God.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.’ [Hebrews 4:16]
III. Our Pitfall
A. “Den of robbers.”
“Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known,  and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, 'We are delivered!'—only to go on doing all these abominations?  Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD.” [Jeremiah 7:9 – 11]
1. A place where sin is safe.
a. A place were sinners are not disturbed… comfortable, unjudged
b.. A place were saints are not motivated… comfortable, lukewarm.
2. A place to cover-up and protect.
a. No need to repent, admit sin, or deal with sin.
b. There is an unspoken “fellowship” that creates “comfort.”
B. Prevent those in need from entering:
1. Matthew 21:14 à blind and lame are healed!
2. Matthew 21:15 à Children shouting praise!
3. The religious? “Indignant” (angry)
IV. An honest “moral inventory.”
A. Lack of prayer….
1. Means judgmental gatekeeping.
2. Means sin running us. (Regular need for confession and repentance.)
3. Means a brutal but comfortable separation from God.
4. Means an utter lack of power… settled pointlessness.
B. God’s house: place to worship, the church, and our life.
1. Can you imagine the change that would happen if we committed ourselves to prayer…?
2. Can you imagine what would happen if we actually spent time with God?
3. Imagine the freedom from sin, the ability to say no to things that weigh us down, and the answers we would have to prayer…