by Mike Raiter

Day 47

Read Matthew 21:1-17

Jesus now completes His climactic journey to Jerusalem and begins His final teaching ministry. Most of it will take place in the temple. He sends two disciples ahead to bring a donkey and her colt to Him. The disciples find things precisely as Jesus had foretold (vv. 2-3). Jesus may be demonstrating His supernatural knowledge of what lies ahead, or He may have made prior agreements.

Everything the temple meant for God's people is now fulfilled in Jesus, the true dwelling place of God

Jesus rides into Jerusalem on an unbroken animal (the colt, not the mother; see Mark 11:2; Luke 19:30), which placidly obeys its master (vv. 4-7). Everything that Jesus does in these verses demonstrates that He is the Messiah, the true king of Israel. The crowds, part of the large flock of pilgrims who flooded into Jerusalem every year for Passover, greet their King, laying their garments and branches on the road and crying out, ″Hosanna″, or ″save us″ (v. 9).

Of course, none of them had any idea of what lay ahead and of how Jesus would be crowned king-not with a sceptre in Jerusalem, but with a crown of thorns on a cross. It is interesting to note that in Hebrew, the word for ″temple″ is the same as the word for ″palace″, and so the true king Jesus enters His temple/palace in verse 12.

One section of the temple had become a busy commercial hub, exchanging foreign money for shekels that were acceptable for offerings in the temple and selling thousands of animals for sacrifice, often at extortionate prices (v. 12). The true purpose of the temple as a centre for worship and prayer had been lost (v. 13), and so Jesus dramatically stops this trading. By this act He doesn't just cleanse or reform the temple, but foreshadows its imminent end.

As the centre and focus of worship, the temple had been corrupted. Now, a new centre for life and worship has come: Jesus. Everything the temple meant for God's people is now fulfilled in Jesus, the true dwelling place of God. If you wanted to be in God's presence, you went to the temple, but now we come to Jesus. Isaiah envisioned the nations streaming into the temple to come to God (Matthew 2:1-4), but today the nations stream to Jesus. The temple is where the sacrifice to take away sins took place, but Jesus is the sacrifice who took away our sins.

Think through:

Often people speak of church buildings as being ″the house of God″. But according to the Bible, what does ″the house of God″ really mean?

In verse 16, Jesus quotes Psalm 8:2, which speaks of children praising God. By applying this text to himself, what is Jesus telling the Jewish leaders?




About Author

Mike Raiter is a preacher, preaching trainer and former Principal of the Melbourne School of Theology in Australia. He is now Director of the Centre for Biblical Preaching and the author of a number of books, including Stirrings of the Soul, which won the 2004 Australian Christian Book of the Year award.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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