Deeper Christian Life Ministry – Search The Scripture 19 February 2023 (Lesson 50)
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TOPIC: Triumphal Entry And Cleansing Of The Temple (STS 19 February 2023)
MEMORY VERSE: “And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, sa ying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he, that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matt 21:9).
TEXTS: Matthew 21:1-27; Mark 11:1-33; Luke 19:28-48; 20:1-8
Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem marks the beginning of the last phase of His public ministry. This event was so significant that the four gospels recorded it (Matt 21:1-27; Mark 11:1-33; Luke 19:28-48; 20:1-8; John 12:12-16). The triumphal entry revealed the plan of God to beam out the glory of Jesus as the Messiah whose kingship, dignity, honour, dominion, power and authority was declared in Jerusalem. Though He had entered many cities, this one was uniquely striking. It was a prophetic fulfilment.
“Rejoice geatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zech 9:9). Thus, in theological term, it is called, ‘the triumphal entry’, in the sense that Christ rode on this specially prepared colt, which had not been used by anyone before then. It also heralded His royalty as King of Israel. It was His last entry into Jerusalem before He died on the cross at Calvary. It was accompanied by spiritually inspired procession: spreading leaves on the way, with shouts of hosanna to herald His entry. The whole city was moved at the news of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. “And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matt 21:10,11). The crowd, which probably consisted of those who greatly admired Christ’s ministry and personality, as well as devoted Jews who came earlier to prepare and purify themselves for the feast of Passover, were not made up of great men and rulers but the common people (1 Cor 1:26-29).
1 DIVINE OWNERSHIP EXERCISED BY JESUS
Matt 21:1-3,6,7; Mark 11:1-7; Luke 19:28-35; Matt 21:3; 1 Kings 20:4
At the mount of Olives, in the vicinity of Bethphage and Bethany, Jesus told two of His disciples, “Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a Colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him and bring him hither” (Luke 19:30). The disciples carried out the assignment with enthusiasm, courage and thoroughness. How applicable this message is to the great commission and the need for a fulfilled ministry. Believers are to go, without excuse at God’s command, to the hideouts of sinners and rescue them from the snares of Satan. In fulfilment of Jesus’ prophecy, the disciples were accosted. How instructive this is to end-time believers. We are messengers of the good news. Our obedience to the call to go and loose those who are bound by sin, sicknesses and Satan should be prompt. We must also be prepared to face any opposition, resistance or persecution; standing on nothing other than what Jesus has commanded. The owner of the colt released it for Christ’s use; this demonstrated Christ’s divine ownership over all things and persons, and as such, has authority to use them at will. For believers, Christ’s ownership over us is twofold: by creation and redemption.
Therefore, redeemed and blood-washed children of God must willingly submit themselves and all that they have to Him for “…the Lord hath need of them…” (Matt 21:3). In His service our understanding of divine ownership will enable us’ to freely give our all to God. “And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have” (1 Kings 20:4). Our lives, talents, time and treasures are not Useful until they are surrendered for use to the glory of God (Luke 19:34,35). Husbands and parents must not tie down their wives and children from being used by God.
Simon Peter surrendered his fishing boat to be used by Christ (Luke 5:1-6). Denying the Lord the use of our time, talent, treasures, etc., is akin to renouncing the lordship of Christ and His need of these things.
2. DEMONSTRATED AUTHORITY OF CHRIST CHALLENGED BY THE RELIGIOUS JEWS
Matt 21:14-27; Mark 11:12-33; Luke 19:36-44; 20:1-8
The texts display events that attest to Jesus’ demonstration of authority over all natural and supernatural elements. The healing of the blind and lame at the temple (Matt 21: 14), the casting out of those who sold and bought in the temple (Luke 19:45), the cursed and withered fig tree (Matt 21:18,19) among others, show that Jesus has power over all things, whether physical, physiological, natural, supernatural, social, material, human or spiritual. However, the miracles and Jesus’ authority in casting out of the temple those who sold and bought angered the religious Jews so much that they challenged His rabbinical authority, hoping to discredit Him as a mere impostor and self-motivated person. “And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?” (Mark 11:28). It is surprising to note that these challengers of Jesus’ authority, recognised Him as Master but opposed His exaltation as ‘King’ and wanted Him to stop and rebuked the disciples for allegedly doing wrong. Some religious people of our time believe Jesus is a Prophet, but not their Saviour, Lord and King. It is a pity such people cannot experience salvation, sanctification, Holy Ghost baptism and other blessings, which come only by acceptance of Christ as Saviour, King of kings and Lord of lords.
3. DESECRATED TEMPLE CLEANSED BY JESUS
Matt 12:12,13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45,46; 1 Cor 3:16,17; 2 Cor 7:1; 1 Cor 6:19,20
Though the omniscient Christ predicted the total destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44), He still embarked on reformation with the hope that the people would submit to divine instruction to do right. Therefore, Jesus “went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought” (Luke 19:45). He did this by whipping them with a scourge of small cords (John 2:14, 15). This is one act of regal authority that Jesus demonstrated in His day. The look on His face and the tone of His word, made those that sold and bought in the temple astonished and compelled them to yield to His command; thereby, fulfilled this Scripture: “A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes” (Prov 20:8). Even though the sale of those animals was for the convenience of those that could easily bring more money with them than animals for sacrifice and changing money for those that wanted it changed, the whole process was turned into making worldly gain. Similar practices are being perpetrated today. People establish churches as money-making ventures. Some assemblies do bazaar, thanksgiving, money-collecting ceremonies, display and sale of false Christian books, distribution of business cards and contract papers to canvass business opportunities inside the church and during programmes at campgrounds. These practices tend to replace spiritual activities such as prayers and the study of God’s word. They hardly listen to the word of God because they must network among worshippers during or after the service.
God is angry with such people Who make His house a market. Christian leaders and all believers should have eagle eyes and the Christlike courage to radically cleanse the church by taking definite steps to identify and stop such people from desecrating God’s house. There are twofold meanings of ‘the temple’: the place of worship and the believer’s body.
The place of worship is to be reverenced and kept holy. Some worshippers desecrate the church building and premises by throwing spittle, food wastes, nylon wrappers, etc. on the floor. Others allow their children to loiter and run about while some youths pass notes to one another when the service is on. All disorderly conduct in the house of God dishonours Him. We should avoid anything that makes us appear to take God for granted. Believers are the spiritual temple of the living God; and as such, we must be careful not to engage any member of our body in self-destructive habits like smoking, drinking, drug addiction and immorality, as such will amount to desecrating the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16,17). As believers, the Spirit of God dwells in us. Therefore, “…dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor 7:1). We must live a consecrated, obedient and holy lifestyle, and “glorify God in [our] body, and in [our] spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor 6:20).
QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW:
- Why is the entry of Christ to Jerusalem termed the triumphal entry?
- What do the response of the disciples to Christ’s assignment and the release of the colt by its owner teach us on divine ownership?
- What motivated the Jewish leaders to challenge the authority of Jesus and what was their main aim?
- Who are the ‘money changers’ and those that ‘sold and bought in the temple’ in our contemporary time, and how can they be cast out?
- What are the twofold meanings of ‘the temple of God?
- Why should we avoid defiling the temple of the Holy Ghost?
- How should believers treat their bodies which is regarded as the temple of the Holy Spirit?
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