Tables Turned

Tables Turned

Daily Reading: (Matthew 21:12-13):

“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” He said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

All of the Gospel writers except one included this story of Jesus in the Temple courts. John is the only one who did not include it in his gospel.

“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts He found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves He said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”  (John 2:13-16).

When people read this story in John they think it is the same event as what Matthew described in Matthew 21 but it is not. If you have ever watched movies about the crucifixion, you have seen John’s telling of Jesus in the temple- where Jesus has a whip, driving the money changers out. When John is writing John 2, Jesus’ ministry has just begun this is not the scene right before He goes to the cross.  At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He cleansed the Temple by driving the money changers out. About three years later they have come back and Jesus cleanses the Temple once more just before His death. This is why so many over time have seen this moment leading up to His crucifixion and have imagined Jesus with the whip driving people out but this all happened at the beginning of His ministry, not the end.

In Matthew 21:10: “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” In the very next verse, they answer their own question. Have you ever done that before? I have had that happen to me before when I was in the airport in Houston. A crowd had gathered and there was a lot of excitement, I knew someone famous must be walking through the airport. So, I said to my wife as the person approached, “who is that?” Moments later, I exclaimed, “It’s Jerry Rice!”

The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

In the crowd’s reaction to what they call Jesus you might think it to be a little strange. Why would they call Jesus a prophet, when in the verses just before it, they are hailing Jesus as Messiah. How strange to shout that salvation has come through the Davidic lineage, the Messiah is here in verse 9, and then say who is this in verse 10, and then answer your own question in verse 11, “it is the prophet”. A prophet would never get the kind of attention and welcome that Jesus did. To understand this moment better you have to try and get inside the mind of the Jewish crowd, what they would have known, and what they were expressing.  The crowd is not calling Jesus “a prophet”, but “the prophet”. What prophet would they have been talking about? The prophet whom Moses spoke of in Deuteronomy 18:18. “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in His mouth. He will tell them everything I command Him.” This expression of calling Him “the prophet” is that they are welcoming Jesus as our blessed Lord, the promised Messiah. This fits with what the crowd was shouting earlier, they are just expressing it in a different way.

But how strange that only five days later, their chants changed from hosanna to “Away with Him! crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Five days later they rejected the grace of God.

Again, inside the minds of the Jewish crowd, their thoughts are that Jesus has come to save them from the Roman oppressors who occupy Jerusalem. Jesus has no plans to do this, so how could He be the Messiah? They were expecting the Messiah to come and conquer, not to lay down His life. What they were missing in their life under the Law is that He had to first conquer sin and death for us, “God had to make Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” When He returns He will conquer. His Kingdom shall reign forever.

But at this moment at Jesus’ triumphal entry things are wonderful, but then the tables begin to turn in the very next verse in Matthew 21:12: “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. Verse 13-“It is written,” He said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

My house shall be called a house of prayer. The usage of “house” here (proseuchē) means a place set apart or suited for the offering of prayer.[1] Since we know prayer is a two-way dialogue between us and God, a communication of speaking and listening and hearing. It is understandable why Jesus was so mad because this was compromised.

This is interesting because at a quick glance it would make sense to have these things established, money changers and dove sellers. The tables of the money-changers was helpful because Judea was subject to the Romans. The money in current use was the Roman coin; yet the Jewish law required that every man should pay a tribute to the service of the sanctuary of “half a shekel,” Exodus 30:11-16. This was a Jewish coin, and the tribute was required to be paid in that coin. It became, therefore, a matter of convenience to have a place where the Roman coin might be exchanged for the Jewish half shekel.

The seats of them that sold doves: Doves were required to be offered in sacrifice (Leviticus 14:22; Luke 2:24), yet it was difficult to bring them from the distant parts of Judea. It was found much easier to purchase them in Jerusalem. Hence, it became a business to keep them to sell to those who were required to offer them. They had turned their practices into a big business to get rich and to rob from God’s people financially and spiritually inside the temple. They made it “a den of thieves”.

What does Jesus do, He turned the tables on them. The moment Jesus enters the scene, purpose is restored in God’s house (Matthew 21:13-14). After all the extra-curricular money-making ventures were removed and there were no more distractions from the Temple, look at what happened next (verse 14). Jesus healed, salvation was received.

Isaiah 35 the prophet describes the coming kingship of the Messiah like this: ” Take courage, fear not. . . . The recompense of God will come, But He will save you. Then the eyes of the blind will be opened. And . . . Then the lame will leap like a deer” (35:4-6).

Jesus comes on a donkey, lowly and gentle and patient; He comes cleansing His Father’s house to make it a house of prayer for all the nations; He comes healing the blind and the lame all to show what his kingship is now in part, and will be fully in the age to come. It is not just a kingship over other kings, but over disease and all nature. Today is the day of our salvation. Trust Him and receive all that He has purchased for you by His blood that was shed and His body that was given.



Healing of the House of a Pharisee

Healing in the House of a Pharisee

Daily Reading: (Luke 14:1-4):

“One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body.Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.”

Today in Luke 14 we will discover a miracle happen in the unlikeliest place of all. Because it is not the place, it is the person where salvation is found.

“One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body” (Luke 14:1-2). Some translations read that the man was suffering from dropsy. Well, what is that? Dropsy is abnormal swelling in the body. What is interesting is that dropsy isn’t a disease itself. This is unique. It is instead a symptom of various illnesses or diseases in the body. I assure you he doesn’t know exactly what has caused it. You and I might not know all the causes of why we have high blood pressure or why we are dizzy or whatever ailment we might have, we just know that we have a condition. We have symptoms that are plaguing our body and the root causes can be unknown. The truth is God knows and Jesus is able to heal the root cause of your problem (Luke 14:2,4).

We are not specifically told this, but there is a clue from verse 1.  “He was being watched carefully.” What were they watching Jesus for? He is simply at a Pharisee house, but it is on the Sabbath. I believe they have set a trap.  Let’s invite Simon over, you know he has got abnormal swelling. His body is swollen like a balloon. He doesn’t even have to say anything, to know that he has an ailment. You can see it clear across the room. Let’s invite him over on the Sabbath because you know you aren’t supposed to labor on the Sabbath. Jesus was accused of this in Matthew 12:10; Mark 3:2, John 9:14-16.

Jesus knows their hearts and what they are after.  “Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not” (Luke 14:3)?

Coffman’s Commentary on the Bible says the following. If they said, “Yes,” they had no case; if they said, “No,” they would have spoken a lie. “The law did not condemn such acts of mercy; and they undoubtedly saw the point of the Master’s question.”[1] 

What Jesus did for the man with the swelled body is that “he took hold of” which is a Greek metaphor of rescue one from peril, to help to cure, heal to make whole to free from sin and bring about one’s salvation. The man with dropsy (swelling of the body) had his root problem of sin removed, he was made whole, as his salvation was received.

Whenever we take communion, we don’t just drink of the cup representing His blood, but also we take of the bread, His body given for us. By His blood that was shed we have forgiveness of sins but by His body we have wholeness and health. Because every provision for us is found in the Lord, we need to abide and rest in Him (John 15:4) to have the root of our problem removed (Luke 14:4).


Most Wanted List

Most Wanted List

Daily Reading: (John 12:1-2, 9-11):

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well,for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.”

To begin with we learn some interesting facts. Lazarus lived in Bethany. Bethany means either “house of affliction” or “house of figs” depending on the language of either Aramaic or Hebrew. Bethany was a lovely place at the foot of the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. It was the perfect place for Jesus to stay right before his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. At this moment in time the text tells us that we are only six days away from Passover. Jesus would be our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). At the third hour (9:00 AM), Israel’s high priest tied the Passover lamb to the altar for sacrifice. At that exact moment outside the city walls of Jerusalem, Jesus, the Lamb of God, was nailed to the cross. For six hours both the Passover lamb and Jesus the Lamb of God, awaited death. Finally, at the ninth hour (3:00 PM), the high priest ascended the altar in the temple and sacrificed the Passover lamb.

At that exact moment from the Cross- Christ’s words thundered out over the city of Jerusalem, “It is finished!” Before this moment of victory- we are first brought to Bethany. Lazarus who had been brought back from the dead by Jesus was with Jesus. Through the Resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus declared that He is “the Resurrection and the Life and the one who believes in Him will live, even though they die” (John 11:25-26). Jesus didn’t just declare He is the Resurrection through His words only but through His actions too. The proof that Jesus is the Resurrection is seen in Lazarus who is there with them all.

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him” (John 12:1-2).

“Lazarus was reclining.” This means that Lazarus was enjoying himself, resting and relaxing with Jesus.Sometimes, the hardest thing for us to do is to sit down with Jesus and relax and simply enjoy time spent with Him. It is a challenge to cease from our own efforts and enter into His rest. Rely solely in Jesus’ unmerited favor is what we must strive to do.

“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,


“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel” (John 12:12-13)!

The people shouted, “hosanna” but what is hosanna?

If you look up hosanna in the Greek you find out there is no such word. What they did is they took the Hebrew word and they tried to copy the sound of it in the Greek. The crowd shouted and the sound they made sounded like hosanna. Hosanna is actually not a Hebrew word at all either, it is a Hebrew phrase. Hoshiya na. is found only one time in the whole Old Testament, Psalm 118:25, where it means, “Save, please!” It is a cry to God for help.

So, if you grew up with older brothers and sisters in your household you knew the concept of the word hosanna. I hear it every week in my house. “Save me daddy.” Because someone bigger and stronger (our older brother) has taken us captive and all we can do is shout out for someone bigger and stronger than ourselves (daddy) to intervene in our situation. Do for us what we are powerless to do for ourselves. So, the Jewish pilgrims are heading into Jerusalem their hometown which is currently occupied by the bigger stronger Romans and they are shouting, “hosanna” because they believe someone stronger has arrived. “Jesus, save us from the Romans.” They should be shouting hosanna, but for a different reason. An even stronger enemy has you captive, save us from sin and death.

So, the only instance we have of hosanna being used before this point in history is what David wrote in the Psalms, but Jesus elevated hosanna to a much higher level. David prayed, “please Lord save us” (Psalm 118:25). God’s answer to David’s prayer was Jesus (John 12:13), “your salvation has come.”

Something happened to that phrase, hoshiya na (hosanna) took on new meaning with Jesus as He entered into Jerusalem. Jesus changed everything. Hosanna was no longer a cry for help as in “save us now” it changed into a shout of hope and exultation, it became “salvation has come!” It is the hope and joy within an individual who sees that salvation is on the way.

And so “Hosanna to the Son of David!” means, “The Son of David is our salvation! Hooray for the king! Salvation belongs to the king!” He has come to rescue us, to deliver us. They are excited because they have living proof (Lazarus) of what Jesus could do.

“So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well,for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him” (John 12:10-11).

The reason Lazarus was a threat was because his testimony of what God had done in his life, was resulting in people receiving everlasting Resurrection life through Jesus. We all who believe, have a powerful story of what Jesus has done in our life, just like Lazarus. As you reflect on what Christ has done for you, by relaxing, resting, and spending time with Jesus, being in the presence of the Lord, God’s grace will flow to you and through you, resulting in other’s receiving the salvation of the Lord.