Holy Week Devotionals – Monday, March 29
“The Cleansing of the Temple”
Have you ever been to a sporting event or an amusement park and found yourself paying exorbitant prices for water or a meal? It’s just not right! In today’s passage we see a glimpse of the crooked business practices that were taking place in the temple during Passover week and how Jesus responded. This annual Holy gathering that brought in large crowds was meant to be a time of Worship, prayer, scripture reading and celebration of the goodness of God. Instead, the Court of the Gentiles (outer court of the temple) included merchants charging up to 4 times the market value for animals and money changers inflating exchange rates for those with foreign currency. In this public cleansing of the temple, Jesus overturned their tables and reminded them that the temple was a house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7). Jesus, Messiah, Son of David is the leader against injustice and for the underprivileged. In God’s beautiful plan, once the tables were cleared out of the way, immediately there was room and a way for the blind and lame to come to Jesus. Do you ever have obstacles that get in the way of you coming to Jesus for healing, or for help, or just to spend time with him?
The next morning, after spending the night in Bethany, Jesus got up early to head back to Jerusalem. What did you think as you read this portion of the chapter? Why do you think He cursed the fig tree? At this time of the year fig trees that had leaves were expected to have figs. Fruit trees should bear fruit, right? If they don’t produce then they have no purpose. Then Jesus took the illustration of the fig tree and led into a discussion of faith and doubt with the disciples.
As soon as Jesus returned to the temple the word ‘authority’ was brought up by the religious leaders. How do you deal with authority and who do you allow to have authority/ speak into your life? Webster defines authority as “power to influence or command thought, opinion or behavior”. The Greek word used in this setting, exousia speaks directly to moral influence. Why do you think the chief priests and leaders questioned the authority of Jesus? Jesus, as fully God and fully man had been given all authority even though the religious leader failed to recognize it (Ephesians 1:18-23).
As you prepare for today and for this Holy week, take a few minutes and reflect on this passage. What obstacles keep you from Jesus? What are you doing about the obstacles? Does Jesus have full authority in every area of your life?
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