Chaos in the Temple?

Written by Jeremy Pate. Posted in Blog.


In Matthew 21:1-11, we read about the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. We are told that “most of the crowd” was very happy to see Him, and “spread their cloaks on the road” for Him as He passed into the city. They shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

But in verse 12, Jesus began His work, and His work involved some specific things:


1.It involved turning over tables and driving out merchants; in other words, costing people money and creating chaos in the temple – vs. 12-13

2.It involved attracting some of the more “undesirable” people into the temple, creating even more chaos in the temple (vs. 14).  Just imagine all of those blind people, fumbling their way into the temple, and crying out for Jesus. Imagine the lame as they came limping, hobbling or crawling into this sacred place, begging for Jesus to heal. And He did heal them.  What a strange, chaotic sight this must have been; to see these people coming into the temple, crawling over broken tables and spilled coins!  It made a lot of people very uncomfortable, to be sure.

3.It involved children who were crying out in praise to Jesus, creating (at least in the minds of some) even more chaos in the temple (vs. 15).  “Somebody tell those kids to be quiet!  This isn’t the time or place for them to be doing that!  They don’t even understand what they’re saying, they were just attracted by all the racket around here!”  Most people don’t enjoy the sound of children crying out. Jesus didn’t seem to mind.

It seems that the work of Jesus in His own house was going to be a messy, chaotic business. It was going to be a business that would turn things over, attract some problems that needed to be solved, provoke the praise of children and - in general - upset those who had fashioned the temple just the way THEY liked it. It was going to be a business that would eventually get Him killed.

We love to see Jesus “riding into town on the donkey,” don’t we?  We love to sing about Him, read about Him, talk about Him, and welcome Him into our lives. We are glad that He has come, and we will even make sacrifices to let Him know how welcome He is…until He actually begins to work in our lives, or in the church that we may have already fashioned to our liking. 

Do you ever wonder what would happen if Jesus came to Buford?

-        Would His own people welcome Him into town?

-        Would He have to tear some things down in His “house” that didn’t belong?

-        Would He attract certain people who we aren’t really attracting: people we aren’t comfortable with?  People with REAL problems?

-        Would He inspire our children to cause what might seem like chaos in the foyer after worship, as they ran after Him and shouted praises to Him? Would we tell them to “be quiet”, or would we realize just how perceptive they are?

-        Would we let Him stay, knowing that the sometimes-chaotic work of Christ in His Church is something that He has an absolute RIGHT to do?  Would we realize that when we pray “Thy kingdom come,” we might be asking for Jesus to shake things up a bit?  Would we be able to handle that? 

According to the Bible, Jesus is always with us (Mt. 28:18-20). He is the head of the Church (Eph. 5:23), and apart from Him, we can do nothing (Jn. 15:5). Will we allow certain kinds of “chaos in the temple” – whether it is the temple of our life, or in the Church - realizing that it might actually be God’s will? 


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