Elfie must have been missing the North Pole this morning as we found him bundled up in the fridge. Today he brought us a story from Mathew chapter 21:
21 As they all approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage. It was on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent out two disciples. 2 He said to them, “Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you will find a donkey tied up. Her colt will be with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them. The owner will send them right away.”
4 This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet would come true. It says,
5 “Say to the city of Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you.
He is gentle and riding on a donkey.
He is riding on a donkey’s colt.’ ” (Zechariah 9:9)
6 The disciples went and did what Jesus told them to do. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt. They placed their coats on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their coats on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Some of the people went ahead of him, and some followed. They all shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 118:26)
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. The people asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus. He is the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
12 Jesus entered the temple courtyard. He began to drive out all those who were buying and selling there. He turned over the tables of the people who were exchanging money. He also turned over the benches of those who were selling doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written that the Lord said, ‘My house will be called a house where people can pray.’ (Isaiah 56:7) But you are making it ‘a den for robbers.’ ” (Jeremiah 7:11)
Our craft was to paint a donkey ornament which was super fun to do as we talked about Jesus being in a parade as He came into Jerusalem. We laid down our coats and pillows onto the floor in the living room and took turns walking over them doing the “queen wave”. Probably not exactly how it really happened but they got the idea. People were celebrating and welcoming Jesus calling him Hosanna.
Once Jesus came into the city He went straight to the temple. What He found there were people gambling and selling things. They had made the place of worship into a flea market. What do we go to the church building to do? The boys quickly answered, “to worship and learn about Jesus.” Absolutely! Now there are many things that happen at church but the main reason for having a church building, a temple, is to worship God corporate! Further, Jesus says “My house will be a house where people can pray.” Could the people pray and worship God very well when others were selling things and exchanging money? No. That would be like trying to worship in the mall.
Now we talk a lot in our house about controlling our anger and our emotions. I knew this one would be a tough one to explain without the boys feeling like they could start turning over tables when they got mad.
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 mommy and daddy have the right to ask misbehaving guests to leave our 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 as we will see in the next few days, they would not believe.