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Matthew 23:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Woe 1: Shutting Up the Kingdom

Matthew 23:13-14 – Woe 1: Shutting Up the Kingdom

|| Luke 11:52

MT23:13 “WOE to you hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees, because right in front of people[1] you are closing the door to the Realm of Heaven.[2] You do not enter and you prevent those who might from entering.[3] MT23:14 [[Woe to you hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees, for you devour the houses of widows and for a pretence you make long prayers. This is why you will receive a heavier judgment.]][4]

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Woe

[1] Right in front of people: [Or, you slam the door in men’s faces] Or, GDSP: you lock the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven in men’s faces.

[2] Closing the door to the Realm of Heaven: We have seen elsewhere in Matthew that the Realm of Heaven is the domain over which Christ rules; that is, Christendom – the Church. The Jewish religious hierarchy opposed the Jesus movement and acted as a restraint in preventing many persons from gaining membership in the congregation Jesus was building. There are modern movements who teach that lesser persons do not attain heaven, but live on earth forever**. These actually teach that opportunity to enter heaven closed.

[3] You do not enter and you prevent those who might from entering: Or, BECK: you won’t come into it yourself, and when others try to come in, you won’t let them. They do not follow the Nazarene and any who try they threaten with excommunication (See John 9:22; 16:2).

[4] [[…]]: Most recognize this verse does not have ancient support and is not supported by the older manuscripts.

**

Many philosophers and preachers talk about some sort of incarnation, where the person keeps returning on earth, each time in another form. Though all should know there is no such incarnation and not every body is going to go to heaven after death. God’s Kingdom shall be on earth as it is in heaven.

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Preceding

Matthew 23:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Prominence and Humility

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Related literature

  1. The Good & Bad of the Pharisees
  2. Hypocrisy & Judgmentalism – Two Unmistakable Marks Of Narcissism – Part 1
  3. Strength and Authority
  4. Leadership and Titles– Part I
  5. Woe unto you…..
  6. “But woe unto you, religious elites (scribes and Pharisees), hypocrites! You shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in.” ~Jesus
  7. Judgement

Matthew 23 – A Jeremiad against the religious hypocrites

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE:
A JEREMIAD AGAINST THE RELIGIOUS HYPOCRITES

[“Woe to a Generation of Vipers”]
(Key word: Woe!)

Already in chapter 16 of Matthews’s account of Jesus his life the apostle wrote about Jesus warning them to be careful and to pay attention regarding the leaven (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians (Matthew 16:6, 11, 12; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1) or particular people who claim to be speaking in the name of God.

Today we start looking at chapter 23 of Matthew’s gospel where Jesus speaks directly to those who claim they are the only ones who have the right to speak about God and His commandments and demanded followship.

This chapter clearly shows the extent to which the disciples are viewed as Jews in relation to the nation, even though their master condemned the leaders who misguided the people and dishonoured Jehovah God by their hypocrisy.

To speak to the crowd and to His disciples, Jesus says:

“The scribes and the Pharisees have sat down in Moses’ chair”;

and though their behaviour was only hypocrisy, they had to follow them, as the interpreters of the law, yet in all that they spoke in accordance with it.

We find Jesus speaking to the multitudes and to his disciple in the most public manner.

First of all, Jesus acknowledges the official position and the orthodoxy of the leaders of the people, and therefore encourages his disciples to bear the fetters of the stricter statue even longer than by premature dropping the semblance of indiscipline (the temple falls soon enough) V. 36).

On the other hand, he recommends to the disciples the harmony of change with doctrine, fraternal equality and humble service (his, the Messiah’s, as the sole leader V. 10); that was the basis of all greatness in his kingdom.

In this chapter we shall come to see how certain people shall try to convince people how they can not come in the Kingdom of God in case they do not follow their teachings. Also in our present day we do find such teachers of religion, Pharisees and hypocrites who love to prevent ordinary people from entering the kingdom of God (v 14) or who set up a show, putting themselves in the spotlights, doing as if they are very devout people and saying ‘great prayers’.

Today we still find people who are more attracted to the writings and sayings of so called theologians instead of concentrating on the words of the Holy Scriptures. They let themselves being carried away by the many theological theories even when those would be not according the Bible texts. Often those church leaders want to have full control over their congregation and therefore make them afraid with all sorts of stories which are not in accordance with the Bible, or of taking certain texts to literally instead of reading in between the lines and seeing the essence of the text.

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Preceding

Matthew 13:33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Fermented Whole

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 22:41-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Asks a Trump Question

Additional readings to Matthew 22:41-46

Next

Matthew 23:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Prominence and Humility

A Look of the Expositor Bible at The Ordeal of questions {Matthew 22:15-46 }

II —The Ordeal of questions. {#Mt 22:15-46 }

The open challenge has failed; but more subtle weapons may succeed. The Pharisees have found it of no avail to confront their enemy; but they may still be able to entangle Him. They will at all events try. They will spring upon Him some hard questions, of such a kind that, answering on the spur of the moment, He will be sure to compromise Himself.

1. The first shall be one of those semi-political semi-religious questions on which feeling is running high — the lawfulness or unlawfulness of paying tribute to Caesar. The old Pharisees who had challenged His authority keep in the background, that the sinister purpose of the question may not appear; but they are represented by some of their disciples who, coming fresh upon the scene and addressing Jesus m terms of respect and appreciation, may readily pass for guileless inquirers. They were accompanied by some Herodians, whose divergence of view on the point made it all the more natural that they should join with Pharisees in asking the question; for it might fairly be considered that they had been disputing with one another in regard to it, and had concluded to submit the question to His decision as to one who would be sure to know the truth and fearless to tell it. So together they come with the request:

“Master, we know that Thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest Thou for any man: for Thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest Thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?”

But they cannot impose upon Him:

“Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?”

Having thus unmasked them, without a moment’s hesitation He answers them. They had expected a “yes” or a “no”—a “yes” which would have set the people against Him, or better still a “no” which would have put Him at the mercy of the government. But, avoiding Scylla on the one hand, and Charybdis on the other, He makes straight for His goal by asking for a piece of coin and calling attention to Caesar’s stamp upon it. Those who use Caesar’s coin should not refuse to pay Caesar’s tribute; but, while the relation which with their own acquiescence they sustain to the Roman emperor implied corresponding obligations in the sphere it covered, this did not at all interfere with what is due to the King of kings and Lord of lords, in Whose image we all are made, and Whose superscription every one of us bears:

“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Thus He not only avoids the net they had spread for Him, and gives them the very best answer to their question, but, in doing so, He lays down a great principle of far-reaching application and permanent value respecting the difficult and much-to-be-vexed question as to the relations between Church and State. “O answer full of miracle!” as one had said. No wonder that

“when they had heard these words they marvelled, and left Him, and went their way.”

2. Next come forward certain Sadducees. That the Pharisees had an understanding with them also seems likely from what is said both in ver. 15, which seems a general introduction to the series of questions, and in ver. 34, from which it would appear that they were somewhere out of sight, waiting to hear the result of this new attack. Though the alliance seems a strange one, it is not the first time that common hostility to the Christ of God has drawn together the two great rival parties. {see #Mt 16:1 } If we are right in supposing them to be in combination now, it is a remarkable illustration of the deep hostility of the Pharisees that they should not only combine with the Sadducees against Him, as they had done before, but that they should look with complacency on their using against Him a weapon which threatened one of their own doctrines. For the object of the attack was to cast ridicule on the doctrine of the resurrection, which assuredly the Pharisees did not deny.

The difficulty they raise is of the same kind as those which are painfully familiar in these days, when men of coarse minds and fleshly imaginations show by their crude objections their incapacity even to think on spiritual themes. The case they supposed was one they knew He could not find fault with so far as this world was concerned, for everything was done in accordance with the letter of the law of Moses, the inference being that whatever confusion there was in it must belong to what they would call His figment of the resurrection:

“In the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.”

It is worthy of note that our Lord’s-answer is much less stern than in the former case. These men were not hypocrites. They were scornful, perhaps flippant; but they were not intentionally dishonest. The difficulty they felt was due to the coarseness of their minds, but it was a real difficulty to them. Our Lord accordingly gives them a kindly answer, not denouncing them, but calmly showing them where they are wrong:

“Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”

Ye know not the power of God, or ye would not suppose that the life to come, would be a mere repetition of the life that now is, with all its fleshly conditions the same as now. That there is continuity of life is of course implied in the very idea of resurrection, but true life resides not in the flesh, but in the spirit, and therefore the continuity will be a spiritual continuity; and the power of God will effect such changes on the body itself that it will rise out of its fleshly condition into a state of being like that of the angels of God. The thought is the same as that which was afterwards expanded by the apostle Paul in such passages as #Ro 8:5-11, 1Co 15:35-54.

Ye know not the Scriptures, or you would find in the writings of Moses from which you quote, and to which you attach supreme importance, evidence enough of the great doctrine you deny.

“Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?”

Here, again, Jesus not only answers the Sadducees, but puts the great and all-important doctrine of the life to come and the resurrection of the body on its deepest foundation. There are those who have expressed astonishment that He did not quote from some of the later prophets, where He could have found passages much clearer and more to the point: but not only was it desirable that, as they had based their question on Moses, He should give His answer from the same source; but in doing so He has put the great truth on a permanent and universal basis; for the argument rests not on the authority of Moses, nor, as some have supposed, upon the present tense “I am,” but on the relation between God and His people. The thought is that such a relation between mortal man and the eternal God as is implied in the declaration

“I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”

is itself a guarantee of immortality. Not for the spirit only, for it is not as spirits merely, but as men that we are taken into relation to the living God; and that relation, being of God, must share His immortality:

“God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

The thought is put in a very striking way in a well-known passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews:

“But now they the patriarchs desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.”

Our Lord’s answer suggests the best way of assuring ourselves of this glorious hope. Let God be real to us, and life and immortality will be real too. If we would escape the doubts of old Sadducee and new Agnostic, we must be much with God, and strengthen more and more the ties which bind us to Him.

3. The next attempt of the Pharisees is on an entirely new line. They have found that they cannot impose upon Him by sending pretended inquirers to question Him. But they have managed to lay their hands on a real inquirer now — one of themselves, a student of the law, who is exercised on a question much discussed, arid to which very different answers are given; they will suggest to him to carry his question to Jesus and see what He will say to it. That this was the real state of the case appears from the fuller account in St. Mark’s Gospel. When, then, St. Matthew speaks of him as asking Jesus a question, “tempting Him,” we are not to impute the same sinister motives as actuated those who sent him. He also was in a certain sense tempting Jesus — i.e., putting Him to the test, but with no sinister motive, with a real desire to find out the truth, and probably also to find out if this Jesus was one who could really help an inquirer after truth. In this spirit, then, he asks the question,

“Which is the great commandment in the law?”

The answer our Lord immediately gives is now so familiar that it is difficult to realise how great a thing it was to give it for the first time. True, He takes it from the Scriptures; but think what command of the Scriptures is involved in this prompt reply. The passages quoted lie far apart — the one in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, the other in the nineteenth of Leviticus in quite an obscure corner; and nowhere are they spoken of as the first and second commandments, nor indeed were they regarded as commandments in the usually understood sense of the word. When we consider all this we recognise what from one point of view might be called a miracle of genius, and from another a flash of inspiration, in the instantaneous selection of these two passages, and bringing them together so as to furnish a summary of the law and the prophets beyond all praise which the veriest unbeliever, if only he have a mind to appreciate that which is excellent, must recognise as worthy of being written in letters of light. That one short answer to a sudden question—asked indeed by a true man, but really sprung upon Him by His enemies who were watching for His halting—is of more value in morals than all the writings of all the ethical philosophers, from Socrates to Herbert Spencer.

It is now time to question the questioners. The opportunity is most favourable. They are gathered together to hear what He will say to their last attempt to entangle Him. Once more He has not only met the difficulty, but has done so in such a way as to make the truth on the subject in dispute shine with the very light of heaven. There could not, then, be a better opportunity of turning their thoughts in a direction which might lead them, if possible in spite of themselves, into the light of God.

The question Jesus asks (vv. 41-45) is undoubtedly a puzzling one for them; but it is no mere Scripture conundrum. The difficulty in which it lands them is one which, if only they would honestly face it, would be the means of removing the veil from their eyes, and leading them, ere it is too late, to welcome the Son of David come in the name of the Lord to save them. They fully accepted the psalm to which He referred as a psalm of David concerning the. Messiah. If, then, they would honestly read that psalm they would see that the Messiah when He comes must be, not a mere earthly monarch, as David was, but a heavenly monarch, one who should sit on the throne of God and bring into subjection the enemies of the kingdom of heaven. If only they would take their ideas of the Christ from the Scriptures which were their boast, they could not fail to see Him standing now before them. For we must remember that they had not only the words He spoke to guide them. They had before them the Messiah Himself, with the light of heaven in His eye, with the love of God in His face; and had they had any love for the light, they would have recognised Him then — they would have seen in Him, whom they had often heard of as David’s Son, the Lord of David, and therefore the Lord of the Temple, and the heavenly King of Israel. But they love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil: therefore their hearts remain unchanged, the eyes of their spirit unopened; they are only abashed and silenced:

“No man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.”

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Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

Matthew 22:7-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Invitations after City’s Destruction

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 22:15-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Caesar’s Things and God’s Things

Matthew 22:23-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sadducees Question on the Resurrection

Matthew 22:29-33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Resurrection Proof from Moses

Matthew 22:34-40 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Which Is the Greatest Commandment

Matthew 22:41-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Asks a Trump Question

Additional readings to Matthew 22:41-46

A Look of the Expositor Bible at The Marriage Feast {Matthew 22:1-14 }

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO:
QUESTIONS ANSWERED AND UNANSWERED

[“Trick Questions”]
(Key word: Marriage)

Matthew 22:1-6 – Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

|| Luke 14:16-22

MT22:1 Jesus continued to answer the priests, Scribes and Jewish elders with more parables, saying: MT22:2 “The Realm of Heaven may be compared to[1] a human king[2] who prepared a wedding feast[3] for his son.[4] MT22:3 Now the king sent out his slaves[5] to call everyone invited[6] to the wedding feast but they were unwilling to come.[7] MT22:4 Again the king sent out more slaves, saying, ‘Tell everyone invited, “Look! I have prepared my supper.[8] My bulls and fattened animals have been slaughtered. Everything is ready! Come to the wedding feast!”’ MT22:5 But those [invited] were disinterested[9] and went away, one person to a field,[10] another person to the emporium.[11] MT22:6 However, others grabbed the slaves of the king and after abusing them murdered them.[12]

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[1] Realm of Heaven may be compared to: Research Realm of Heaven and notes elsewhere. There is something about the Church (the realm of profession; the Kingdom of Heaven). Of course, there are elements in the parable directed to the Jewish religious hierarchy.

[2] King: Yehowah, God of the Jews, the Father of Jesus Christ.

[3] A wedding feast: Or, KJV: wedding; RSV: marriage feast; TCNT: banquet. Compare Revelation 19:9 and 2 Corinthians 11:2 (Ephesians 5:32).

[4] Son: ‘Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God,’ as Peter declares.

[5] Slaves: Some would include the ancient prophets here, however, it is more likely these slaves represented John and his disciples as well as those seventy Jesus sent out to invite Jews to the Realm of Heaven.

[6] Invited: The Greek word is KEKLEMENOUS (KEKLEMENOIS) and is either rendered by “invite” or “call.” Or, KNX: summons. Jesus said he came “only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Those invited here are those Jews in the nation of Israel who have the covenant promise of a “kingdom.” (Exodus 19:6)

[7] Unwilling to come: As a nation the Jews reject Jesus and the opportunity he offers. Compare what the prophet foretold – Isaiah 52:13-53:3.

[8] I have prepared my supper: Whether one viewed the entire outworking of God’s purpose involved in this preparation, with the coming of Messiah “preparations” have reached a key phase now.

[9] Those [invited] were disinterested: Or, KJV: made light of it; KNX: paid no heed; LAM: sneered at it.

[10] To a field: Or, KJV: farm; MOF: estate; WEY: his home in the country.

[11] The emporium: The Greek is EMPORIAN. Or, KJV: merchandise; MOF: business; NW: commercial business.

[12] Abusing them murdered them: Or, ASV: treated them shamefully and killed them; NEB: attacked them brutally; MON: maltreated.

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Preceding

Matthew 21:45-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Religious Leadership Fearful

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Additional reading

  1. God doesn’t call the qualified
  2. God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings
  3. The Call of Christ
  4. Ability (part 7) Thought about the ability to grow as a member of the Body of Christ

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Related articles

  1. Narrative Lectionary: Invitations (Matthew 22:1-14)
  2. You are called
  3. It’s a Trap!

Matthew 21:12-14 – From a den of thieves to a house of prayer

In Jesus time we could already find temples where money was handled. Those who wanted to exchange money could go for that to the temple. Though God had not let build temples for worldly actions like exchanging money, selling and buying.

“12  And Jesus entered the temple and cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He *said to them, “It is written, ’MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 14 And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.” (Mt 21:12-14 NAS)

John’s Gospel records a similar cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (John 2:13–17).

“13 And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers seated. 15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and overturned their tables; 16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR THY HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.”” (Joh 2:13-17 NAS)

Because being around the same festival (the passover – 14-22 Nisan) both writers could have been writing about the same event. But it can well be that John spoke of an earlier incident. It is commonly supposed that Jesus observed three Passovers in Jerusalem  — one recorded in Luke 6:, another in John 6:4, and the last one on the night before he was crucified, John 11:55. By John we also find Jesus who went up to Jerusalem and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting.

John also says something about the temperament of Jesus. Jesus was not at all pleased with what went on in what should be a House of God. Annoyed with what he saw, Jesus in a burst of rage, made a scourge of cords, and cast all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew their tables and the seats of them that sold the doves. For Jesus it was clear that a Temple for God should not be a house of merchandise. His disciples also remembered that it was written,

“For zeal for Thy house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me.” (Ps 69:9 NAS)

Interpreters have proposed two explanations:

(1) there was only one cleansing, but John narrated the action at the beginning for thematic/theological purposes, while the Synoptic Gospels narrate the actual historical chronology;

(2) there were indeed two similar but distinctly different temple cleansings. The differences of detail seem to indicate the latter, for while the initial action is similar, Jesus’ statement (Matt. 21:13) and the challenge from the Jewish leaders (vv. 15–16) are entirely different from what John records.
In addition, John places the event so early in his Gospel that it would be difficult to think he wanted readers to take it as anything but an event that happened early in Jesus’ ministry. Thus Jesus cleansed the temple at the beginning as a warning, and at the end of his ministry as a statement of judgment on the leadership of Israel.

You could wonder why the first cleansing had no success at all. But that indicates how the gaining of money was more important than keeping the temple only for worship.

This incident Matthew is talking about, is placed on the Monday morning, when they were come out from Bethany, by the evangelist Mark (Mark 11:12–19).

“12  And on the next day, when they had departed from Bethany, He became hungry. 13 And seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And He answered and said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. 15 And they *came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple. 17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ’MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for all the multitude was astonished at His teaching. 19 And whenever evening came, they would go out of the city.” (Mr 11:12-19 NAS)

Jesus wanted nobody to carry a vessel through the temple or doing business. After his outburst of anger Jesus taught those around him that it was written,

  My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.

referring to what his heavenly Father, the God of Israel had told His people

“Even those I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”” (Isa 56:7 NAS)

Therefore what would be acceptable in the Temple or God’s House are burnt offerings and people their sacrifices brought to the altar. All had to understand that the house of Jehovah God shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. (Isa 56:7)

“A house of prayer for all peoples” indicates that first of all it had to be a place where people of all nations should be able to come in to pray. Jesus indicated that within the temple there is no place for a sort of market where commercial activity would take place.

In Matthew 21:13 Jesus compares the temple and its keepers to a den of robbers. Thieves often used caves to store their ill-gotten wealth and to plot future crimes. A temple for God does not have to be a place of secret actions, nor for worldly activities. It should be a place where people come without fear nor hesitation to gather in unity, to express their faith and for worshipping God. Everything belongs already to God, so people should know they can not tempt Him with money nor worldly sacrifices.

God allowed people to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices, but any sacrifice of a wicked person is an abomination to Jehovah God.

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.” (Pr 15:8 NAS)

God is willing to incline His ear for those who come in honesty to His House (the temple) (Ps 10:17) where pepole also could come to confess their sins to one another, and could gather to pray for one another, so that they might be healed. This with the knowledge that the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (Jas 5:16)

Also today we should wonder what is acceptable to be done in a House of prayer, be it called a synagogue, temple, prayer hall, kingdom hall, church hall, or simply church. We can find a lot of churches where financial activities take place. When you go and visit places have a look into many churches and see how they have stalls for selling things and often also have a lot of statues of people (called saints) with underneath a collecting box. In many churches we not only can see such sculptures of human beings but also of gods, like Jesus (the son of God – for many god the son) and God the Father, which is against God His commandments.

“’Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ’Amen.’” (De 27:15 NAS)

All going to such a House of prayer should know that God looks down at the earth and sees all people, knowing what goes on in their heart. All should be aware that everything which goes in against the commandments of God is an abomination in His eyes and considered evil. (Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Acts 17:29; Proverbs 15:29; 1 Samuel16:7; 1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 3:22). When people live according God’s Will He is willing to listen to them, at any moment, but in a House of prayer they can find a special place to be in contact with their God.

“and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” (1Jo 3:22 NAS)

In Jesus ‘ time but also later, as well as today, we can find pepole misusing their prime location, taking advantage of people’s religiosity to over-charge and cheat. In many places of worship and of pilgrimage we can find people deliberate making misuse of religion for personal gain. Look for example to Lourdes a.o. so called ‘sacred places’ and notice the whole ‘circus market’.

Jesus wants to see an atmosphere of pure, God-centred worship, free of man-centred worldly distractions. The House of God should be a place to gather to study the Word of God, to meditate and to pray. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, but Jesus had already given a sign that in each person there was a place for a temple.

Today we do not have to go up on the mountain, nor to Jerusalem,to worship the Father. As true worshippers we can go to any place where nothing is against the Will of God to worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers.

“21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. 22 “You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” (Joh 4:21-23 NAS)

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Preceding

Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

Matthew 21:10-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Is This?

Matthew 21:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Temple Cleansed

Good or bad preacher

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Additional reading

  1. Today’s thought “Cleansing of the leper under the Law” (March 7)
  2. Memorizing wonderfully 13 Elija, Elisha, Mordecai, Job, chariots and a house for God
  3. Memorizing wonderfully 20 Mountain and Kingdom of God
  4. Having a small church mentality

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Further related

  1. He Was Moved with Compassion
  2. Watch Well Thy Faith
  3. How Many Christians Are Abusing the Label?
  4. The House of God
  5. House of God The house of God reaches upwards to meet with the cloudy firmament
  6. 5 – The House of God
  7. In the house of God
  8. Cornerstone
  9. This is a House of Prayer
  10. The Proper Place – I Timothy 2 – Part 1
  11. Church at Sardis-2 ‘Of whose house are we?’
  12. Of His House
  13. Today’s Theme Song: House of God
  14. I Miss Reverence
  15. Why You Must Be Glad when You’re Invited to church
  16. God’s Holiness
  17. The Church
  18. Welcome to the house of God

Matthew 21:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Temple Cleansed

Matthew 21:12-14 – Temple Cleansed

|| Mark 11:11, 15-17; Luke 19:45, 46

MT21:12 Now Jesus entered the temple grounds[1] and drove out all those selling and buying[2] on the temple grounds. He upset the tables and benches of the moneychangers and those selling the doves. MT21:13 Jesus told them all, “It was written: ‘My House will be called “A house of prayer”’[3] but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”[4] [Isaiah 56:7] MT21:14 And the blind and lame approached Jesus on the temple grounds and he cured them.

*

[1] The temple grounds: The Greek is HIERO and is the word that refers to the whole temple compound. The Greek word NAOS is limited to the Temple proper with its two holy compartments. See Thayer’s.

[2] Those selling and buying: NOR: tipped over the tables of the cashiers; KNX: tables of the bankers. The pilgrims by the hundreds of thousands came to buy animals and birds for sacrifice so considerable money changed hands. The chief priests had the concession for this and one can imagine the reaction to Jesus’ actions.

[3] My House will be called “a house of prayer”: The quote is from Isaiah 56:7.

[4] But you have turned it into a den of thieves: Jesus includes Jeremiah 7:11. Or, RIEU: a robbers’ den; LAM: a bandits’ cave; NW: cave of robbers. Essentially Jesus calls the concessionaires, the priests, a bunch of thieves. This will not sit well.

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Preceding

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

Matthew 21:10-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Is This?

Matthew 21:10-11 Who Is This? – a Question still posed today #1

Matthew 21:10-11 Who Is This? – a Question still posed today #2

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Further reading

  1. The Book of Isaiah-Is.57-“Heritage of the Righteous”
  2. The Book of Isaiah-Is.61- “For All People…”
  3. The Book of Isaiah-Is.61- Trees of Righteousness
  4. Clean Out Your Closets
  5. Third week of advent – Friday – first reading (Isaiah 56:1-3.6-8)
  6. My house shall be called a house of prayer
  7. From a den of thieves to a house of prayer – are you a business or a ministry
  8. The House of Prayer
  9. This is a House of Prayer
  10. 33rd Friday of Ordinary Time
  11. Easter Week: House of Prayer
  12. a house of prayer for all nations
  13. The Battle Lines Are Drawn.
  14. Your temple
  15. House of prayer/ Rumah doa

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