Jesus overturned the tables
Matthew 20:29-21:22 from the daily reading in the One year Bible
As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. 30 And two people who were blind, sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 But the crowd sternly warned them to be quiet; yet they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 33 They said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
21 When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them on immediately.” 4 Now this took place so that what was spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:
5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold your King is coming to you,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, 7 and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their cloaks on them; and He sat on the cloaks. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9 Now the crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”
10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”
12 And Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those who were selling and buying on the temple grounds, and He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.”
14 And those who were blind and those who limped came to Him in the temple area, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant, 16 and they said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘From the mouths of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” 17 And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.
18 Now in the early morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves alone; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered.
20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.”
Today’s text says: Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those who were selling and buying on the temple grounds, and He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.” In John 2:13-16, there is another account of Jesus cleansing the temple. It says: The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And within the temple grounds He found those who were selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a whip of cords, and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away from here; stop making My Father’s house a place of business!” This was done at the beginning of Jesus ministry, not near the end as in Matthew’s account. I doubt that these were different recollections of the same incident. It is more likely that Jesus did this every time He went to the temple in Jerusalem. Because of the hardness of their hearts, those who profited from the unrighteous business, simply set the tables that Jesus overturned back up again. How quickly I wonder, do we reestablish the things that Jesus desires to drive out and overturn in our lives. How long after Sunday service is it before we do the things that we should not? Romans 2:4-6 says: Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and restraint and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will repay each person according to his deeds. If we do not respond to God’s kindness and compassion with repentance, truly changing how we act and how we think, we may come to know His righteous judgment. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” It is not enough that we call Jesus Lord. If he is our Lord, then we will not continue to reset the tables He has overturned. We will not embrace what He has driven out. We will not practice the very things He died to redeem us from.
The text ends saying: Now in the early morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves alone; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.” That’s an amazing statement about the power Jesus says we can have if we have faith without doubting. How hard though is it to fully believe without doubting? Our experiences and our senses tell us what the situations and circumstances really are. How can we have faith without doubting when things seem impossible? Jesus taught us to pray saying: ‘Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven…’ Our faith, mountain moving faith, is established in believing that Jesus has already fully accomplished everything He came to do. On the cross in John 19:30, Jesus said: “It is finished!” Everything we need is already fully accomplished in the eternal heavenly realm. If we believe that, then what we ask is that God’s will would be done on earth as it already is in heaven. We ask that the realities of the kingdom of God would impact and change the circumstances and situations on earth, that it would truly be, on earth as it is in heaven.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, thank You for Your kindness and compassion. Thank You for Your conviction. May I never seek to reset or reestablish what You drive out of my life. May I not embrace or practice the very things that You died to redeem me from. May I believe in the finished work of the cross and may Your kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, both in and through my life. Amen.