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When Jesus Lowered the Boom, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
September 15, 2021 7:05 am

When Jesus Lowered the Boom, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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September 15, 2021 7:05 am

The King’s Commission: A Study of Matthew 21–28

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Jesus is often typecast as meek and mild.

When portrayed in movies, He seems like someone who could never get riled up or lose his cool. Well, today on Insight for Living, this narrow image of Jesus as a one-dimensional man will be broken, as Chuck Swindoll teaches from Matthew chapter 21. In this section of Matthew's account, we'll find out what triggered Jesus to display unrestricted anger and will attempt to overlay this scene on today's world so that we don't miss the application for our times.

Chuck titled his message, When Jesus Lowered the Boom. On our way through this Gospel by Matthew, we'll begin reading at verse 12 of Matthew 21 down through the 22nd verse. You'll find an outline in your worship folder that will guide us in our time together. This is one of those sections in the Bible that surprises most people. You don't normally think of Jesus as one turning over tables and throwing chairs to the side and driving people out of a place normally dedicated for worship until you understand why He did it and what prompted such an angry response. It also leads into a section that is very difficult to understand. When you teach through the Scriptures, which is called expositing the Word of God, in your exposition you don't have the freedom to skip the tough parts and to take only the easy parts. And some parts of the Bible are very difficult to understand. One of my resources in preparing for today made the statement that in his opinion, this section is the most difficult part in all the Bible to understand. I remember pausing in my study and praying, Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus, and deliver me from this difficult time.

But he didn't, and by the end of the first service, no one threw anything at me, so we made it through that part, and now we're here for the second. But as I read for you these verses, try to imagine you're teaching them and what you would say about them, especially verses 18 through 22. But I want to read for you from the New Living Translation, Matthew 21, beginning at verse 12. Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices.

He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, the scriptures declare my temple will be called a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves. The blind and the lame came to him in the temple and he healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the temple shouting, praise God for the son of David.

But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, do you hear what these children are saying? Yes, Jesus replied. Haven't you ever read the scriptures?

For they say you have taught children and infants to give you praise. And he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight. In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. And then he said to it, may you never bear fruit again. And immediately the fig tree withered up.

The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, how did the fig tree wither so quickly? Then Jesus told them, I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You could even say to this mountain, may you be lifted up and thrown into the sea and it will happen. You could pray for anything. And if you have faith, you will receive it. May the Lord help all of us understand what this is saying and what it means for us today. You are listening to Insight for Living.

To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck that he titled When Jesus lowered the boom. Can you remember the last time you got really mad for the right reason? I'm not talking about an out of control temper tantrum kind of rage. No, I'm talking about a time when you had every reason to be angry and you were.

And you showed it. This is sometimes called righteous indignation. Paul writes of that kind of thing in Ephesians 4 26, when he in fact gives a command, be angry, but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath. So in the right sense, when it is for the right reason. When you are angry, righteously, you don't sin.

You're doing the right thing. Something that should have made you angry, made you angry. And you reacted.

The wrong thing would have been for you to fold your arms and simply lean back and carelessly shrug your shoulders as if you're not going to get involved or you're not going to say anything. For whatever reason, you're just going to remain passive. I read somewhere and I heard also on a number of occasions, a good statement, passivity is an enemy. And it's easy for us in this day when so much goes on that is wrong for us to cultivate a whole lifestyle of passivity.

We don't make waves. We just stay out of the problem and hope it works its way out. Now, there are times when you need to be engaged in the issue. For example, it's right to feel anger toward an abuser who deceives and then later wounds or brutalizes an innocent child. That ought to make you mad. It is appropriate to feel anger toward a bully who takes unfair advantage of someone smaller or disabled or for whatever reason cannot defend herself or himself.

That's worth getting angry over. We should feel anger when we witness individuals who shamelessly desecrate that which is sacred or selfishly exploit those who are poor. Those wrong acts get to us and they should. They stir up our anger and they should. When we're asked later about our reaction, I have the feeling that without trying to blow our own horn, we simply say, look, it's only human.

It's only right that I say something or that I do what I did. I want to use that statement as a place to address an important theological subject. Stay with me because it will help you understand what Jesus did when he was on this earth. When Jesus was among us, he took upon himself flesh. He became the first and only God-man. Theologians refer to Jesus as the theanthropic person, theos, God, anthropos, man, theanthropic. In one body, two natures exist, deity and humanity. When you study the life of Jesus, you see each emerge.

Sometime we see them come close together. For example, we witness him as he was perfect, knew no sin, did no sin, had no sin. As deity, he could calm the waters. He could give sight to the blind. He could give health to the crippled and the disabled. He could walk on water. As deity, he could turn huge jugs of water into aged good wine.

He could even raise the dead because he is God. But also man. As a little baby, he didn't know how to talk or walk. So he had to learn. He had to obey his parents as he was growing up under their roof.

He learned the carpenter's trade from Joseph. Though God, he was also man. He became weary, so he needed sleep. When life was funny, he laughed. When he was in grief, he wept. When he was hit, he hurt. When he was cut, he bled. When he died, his heart stopped beating.

Human. He got mad when he witnessed the desecration of sacred things. And he should have. There was everything right about it, and because of sound doctrine, when you understand his person, you have no difficulty interpreting the things he did, and often the things he said. Jesus is walking into a large worship area called the Court of the Gentiles. The temple is a vast bit of architecture. The temple includes this outer court, which covers one of my resources.

It says 35 acres, acres of space. When worshippers came, they would come, unlike today, with animals. And they would bring their animals that would be sacrificed, and the blood that would be poured out would be a part of the forgiveness process that God would honor. Over time, all of this became corrupt.

And the leaders, because of their greed and pride and unaccountability, turned the whole thing into, well, a bazaar. For example, when you came as a visitor from another country to worship at the temple, you could bring your animal, but the leaders at the temple would disqualify that animal for the simplest of reasons. The point is, you have to buy one of theirs. And when you buy that animal, you have to pay ten times more than the animal would normally cost, extortion. You would come with money from the country where you were living, and you now must exchange the money into the coin of the realm of Jerusalem.

They would charge you 25 percent surcharge for all the change in that money process. It is a classic case in point of corruption. Now, what you have to understand is that those who were behind it wore their robes of religion. They looked so religious. They were proud of their robes.

All of it is an empty pretense. They were studies in hypocrisy. In fact, the one who was behind it is a man named Annas, A-double-N-A-S. The whole courtyard scene came to be known as Annas Bazaar.

It was a joke. One man described it as resembling a mix of a county fair and the pit of stock exchange. It was an unholy, mercenary commercial myth. And what was meant originally to be acts of worship turned into, well, desecration. When Jesus walks in on the scene, he lowered the boom. And it was a side of him they had not seen before.

Frankly, I love it. If you were to ask me what scene would you like to have been in at the time, this is the one. I would love to have been there. I mean, animals went everywhere, and money was rolling all across the courtyard, and doves were flying and chirping, and tables are turned over, and chairs are turned over.

It is a great scene. And the priests are staring in disbelief. Those who think they're going to live through it are there. The rest of them ran for their lives. And strangers who had come to worship must have stood and stared. And some of them must have thought, good, this is right.

But of course, Jesus simply did what was right without announcing it. Have you ever been at a scene where tables are turned over and chairs are thrown aside, and there's the whole mess in front of you? Maybe you haven't. Well, I have.

And I'm going to tell you about it. I was 8,000 miles from home, thank goodness, and I was serving in the Marine Corps. We had just done a landing on the north end of Okinawa, and we were on a combat training.

Three days, living in the field, no showers, sorry food from rations, and it's hot, and it's a miserable situation, and you are wading through swamps and going through all that nonsense, and you wind up really dirty, really stinky, and starving. When we finally got back to the base, for some reason, I'll never understand why, but the chef, well, let me put it this way, he did not train at the Ritz-Carlton in Paris. The chef chose to serve us liver and onions for our meat that day. Now, the good thing is that in the Marine Corps, when you have liver and onions, they also provide another meat dish because so many don't like liver and onions. I happen to like liver and onions, but I'm weird, so I didn't mind, but the other dish he served was meatloaf. But for him, it looked a little more like alpo, dog food. I mean, kind of a slimy mess, and then there was potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, as I recall, and green beans and green peas, and there was coconut pie, cream pie, and there was chocolate pudding.

I'll get to that in just a minute. So we all went through the line, and we got this, and of course, then when they serve you, they slap it on your tray so that it tends to get on your garment, and you walk and sit down at the table, and everybody is kind of hair trigger close to a rage when we sit down. Everybody stinks, everybody's hungry, and they don't like what they've been served, and a guy punches into the meatloaf, and part of the meat lands on the guy sitting across from him, and he gets on his fatigues, which were already dirty, but he picks up this, and he slings it back at the guy and hits him in the face, and I'm thinking, nice shot. And I decide I have a little more liver than the normal person would want to eat, so I hit this guy in the face with a slab of liver, and of course, it ran down his neck, and there were potatoes and peas and, oh, I should add, chocolate pudding, and some of the best kind of pie landed on heads and bodies, and tables are turning over, guys are duking it out. It was great, and all the chairs were all over the place. The place was a royal mess. I've eaten food all my life, but that's the first time I've ever worn it, and we were all wearing it, and we looked over at the exit, and there stood the officer of the mess hall, staring at us. He tended to blow this shrill whistle so loud, and he's blowing till he's red in the face until he gets hit with a piece of liver and some onions that go, and it's not a good moment, because until about 9.30, 10 o'clock at night, we are in the mess hall with hose and scrub brushes cleaning everything up. So I've been in a scene, something like that, but that was all for the wrong reason. That was all just satisfied.

I mean, there's something about getting it out of your system, and you can't throw enough food, and you can't get on enough tables, and you can't throw enough chairs around. You just have to do it, that is, from your flesh. But here, interestingly, Jesus does it all alone. You don't read a word about the disciples helping out.

They don't want to get involved in this. I mean, after all, Annas is a powerful man. By the way, he's one of the reasons Jesus was later arrested.

He never forgot this. He's the godfather of the religious establishment, and he despises Jesus. Tables are turned over, doves are flying, animals are rushing here and there, and while Jesus is doing all of this, look. Verse 13, he's quoting verses. You know it's righteous indignation when what you are doing includes the quoting of verses of Scripture, and he does it from memory. He quotes from Isaiah 56 and Jeremiah chapter 7. He says, Scriptures declare my temple will be called a house of prayer, and you have turned it into a den of thieves. He yells not at the worshippers who had come, but at the leaders who were behind all of this corrupt activity.

Interesting, as soon as he, if you will, cleans the place out of all of this corrupt activity, look at what happens. Verse 14, the blind come and they receive sight, the lame come and they are healed, and children come and they are shouting praise to God for the son of David, a messianic statement, and the leaders watch all of this, and though the miracles were true and real and life-changing, and though the children's songs were innocent songs sung in praise, the reaction of the leaders into verse 15, look for yourself, they were indignant. The word has in mind they were, they were livid. They were angry beyond words. Why? For all the wrong reasons.

That's an anger that's a wrong anger. He had done what is right, but because he messed up their religious playground and the income they had counted on for that day, and he had exposed the wrongness of their activities, they hated him for it. By the way, don't fear for him. He is as safe as Daniel in the lion's den.

Though he's one against all, he's invincible. In fact, he has enough presence of mind to say to these leaders who were staring him down, do you hear what the children are saying? Have you heard their words? They ask him that, and then he says, yes, haven't you read the scriptures, for they say you have taught children and infants to give you praise, right out of Psalm 8, verse 2. And then he returned to Bethany where he stayed overnight. As you can tell, we're just getting started in the study of Matthew chapter 21. There's much more Chuck Swindoll wants to show us as it relates to this unsettling scene in the temple. You're listening to Insight for Living, Chuck titled today's message, When Jesus Lowered the Boom. For more about the resources we have available for today's topic, please visit us online at insightworld.org. Before we move ahead, I'd like to draw your attention to a book Chuck Swindoll selected for our listening family. In recent days, our study in Matthew has featured a number of references to the justice of God and the fairness of his actions.

And in today's politically charged climate, these words are surfacing in our conversations as it relates to social justice and even the worldview that is often called critical race theory. Well, when Chuck finished reading a new book called Fault Lines by fellow pastor Vody Baucom, he immediately wanted to share it with you. Chuck said, whether you're a lay person who's trying to engage in sensitive conversations on race or a pastor who's grappling with a polarized congregation, you'll want to read Fault Lines.

You can purchase a copy right now by going to insight.org slash offer. In closing, I'll remind you that your generous donations are what empower Insight for Living to deliver these daily Bible studies. When you give, you're actually making it possible for someone you may never meet in places you will likely never visit to have access to this life-giving Bible teaching. So thanks for giving generously to this nonprofit ministry. Chuck's teaching is heard around the globe and in fact in eight languages other than English, and we're able to do so in part through your generosity. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888.

To give a donation online, go to insight.org. I'm Wayne Shepard, sitting in today from my friend Dave Spiker. Tomorrow, Chuck Swindoll describes the moment when Jesus lowered the boom. Be listening Thursday to Insight for Living. The preceding message, When Jesus Lowered the Boom, was copyrighted in 2017 and 2021, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2021 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-23 02:11:49 / 2023-08-23 02:20:36 / 9

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