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10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

12 Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13He said to them, “It is written,

‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’;

but you are making it a den of robbers.”

14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry 16and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,

‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies

you have prepared praise for yourself’?”


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9. Hosanna to the Son of David. This prayer is taken from Psalm 118:25. Matthew relates expressly the Hebrew words, in order to inform us, that these applauses were not rashly bestowed on Christ, and that the disciples did not utter without consideration the prayers which came to their lips, but that they followed with reverence the form of prayer, which the Holy Spirit had prescribed to the whole Church by the mouth of the Prophet. For, though he speaks there of his own kingdom, yet there is no reason to doubt that he principally looks, and intends others to look, to the eternal succession, which the Lord had promised to him. He drew up a perpetual form of prayer, which would be observed, even when the wealth of the kingdom was decayed; and therefore it was a prevailing custom, that prayers for the promised redemption were generally presented in these words. And the design of Matthew was, as we have just hinted, to quote in Hebrew a well-known psalm, for the purpose of showing that Christ was acknowledged by the multitude as a Redeemer. The pronunciation of the words, indeed, is somewhat changed; for it ought rather to have been written, Hoshiana, (הושיע נא) Save now, we beseech thee; but we know that it is scarcely possible to take a word from one language into another, without making some alteration in the sound. Nor was it only the ancient people whom God enjoined to pray daily for the kingdom of Christ, but the same rule is now laid down for us. And certainly, as it is the will of God to reign only in the person of his Son, when we say, May thy kingdom come, under this petition is conveyed the same thing which is expressed more clearly in the psalm. Besides, when we pray to God to maintain his Son as our King, we acknowledge that this kingdom was not erected by men, and is not upheld by the power of men, but remains invincible through heavenly protection.

In the name of the Lord. He is said to come in the name of God, who not only conducts himself, but receives the kingdom, by the command and appointment of God. This may be more certainly inferred from the words of MARK, where another exclamation is added, Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, which cometh in the name of the Lord; for they speak thus in reference to the promises; because the Lord had testified that he would at length be a deliverer of that nation, and had appointed as the means the restoration of the kingdom of David. We see then that the honor of Mediator, from whom the restoration of all things and of salvation was to be expected, is ascribed to Christ. Now as it was mean and uneducated men by whom the kingdom of Christ was called the kingdom of David, let us hence learn that this doctrine was at that time well known, which in the present day appears to many to be forced and harsh, because they are not well acquainted with Scripture.

Luke adds a few words, Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest; 719719     “Es lieux tres-hauts;” — “in the very high places.” in which there would be no obscurity, were it not that they do not correspond to the song of the angels, (Luke 2:14;) for there the angels ascribe to God glory in heaven, and to men peace on earth; while here both peace and glory are ascribed to God. But there is no contradiction in the meaning; for, though the angels state more distinctly the reason why we ought to sing, Glory to Godnamely, because through his mercy men enjoy peace in this world — yet the meaning is the same with what is now declared by the multitude, that there is peace in heaven; for we know that there is no other way in which wretched souls find rest in the world, than by God reconciling himself to them out of heaven.

12. And Jesus entered into the temple. Though Christ frequently ascended into the temple, and though this abuse continually met his eye, twice only did he stretch out his hand to correct it; once, at the commencement of his embassy, 1313     “Quand il commença à exercr son office d’ambassadeur;” — “when he began to discharge his office as ambassador.” and now again, when he was near the end of his course. But though disgraceful and ungodly confusion reigned throughout, and though the temple, with its sacrifices, was devoted to destruction, Christ reckoned it enough to administer twice an open reproof of the profanation of it. Accordingly, when he made himself known as a Teacher and Prophet sent by God, he took upon himself the office of purifying the temple, in order to arouse the Jews, and make them more attentive; and this first narrative is given by John only in the second chapter of his Gospel. But now, towards the end of his course, claiming again for himself the same power, he warns the Jews of the pollutions of the temple, and at the same time points out that a new restoration is at hand.

And yet there is no reason to doubt that he declared himself to be both King and High Priest, who presided over the temple and the worship of God. This ought to be observed, lest any private individual should think himself entitled to act in the same manner. That zeal, indeed, by which Christ was animated to do this, ought to be held in common by all the godly; but lest any one, under the pretense of imitation, should rush forward without authority, we ought to see what our calling demands, and how far we may proceed according to the commandment of God. If the Church of God have contracted any pollutions, all the children of God ought to burn with grief; but as God has not put arms into the hands of all, let private individuals groan, till God bring the remedy. I do acknowledge that they are worse than stupid who are not displeased at the pollution of the temple of God, and that it is not enough for them to be inwardly distressed, if they do not avoid the contagion, and testify with their mouth, whenever an opportunity presents itself, that they desire to see a change for the better. But let those who do not possess public authority oppose by their tongue, which they have at liberty, those vices which they cannot remedy with their hands.

But it is asked, Since Christ saw the temple filled with gross superstitions, why did he only correct one that was light, or, at least, more tolerable than others? I reply, Christ did not intend to restore to the ancient custom all the sacred rites, and did not select greater or smaller abuses for correction, but had only this object in view, to show by one visible token, that God had committed to him the office of purifying the temple, and, at the same time, to point out that the worship of God had been corrupted by a disgraceful and manifest abuse. Pretexts, indeed, were not wanting for that custom of keeping a market, which relieved the people from trouble, that they might not have far to go to find sacrifices; and next, that they might have at hand those pieces of money which any man might choose to offer. Nor was it within the holy place that the money-changers sat, or that animals intended for sacrifice were exposed to sale, but only within the court, to which the designation of the temple is sometimes applied; but as nothing was more at variance with the majesty of the temple, than that a market should be erected there for selling goods, or that bankers should sit there for matters connected with exchange, this profanation was not to be endured. And Christ inveighed against it the more sharply, because it was well known that this custom had been introduced by the avarice of the priests for the sake of dishonest gain. For as one who enters a market well-stocked with various kinds of merchandise, though he does not intend to make a purchase, yet, in consequence of being attracted by what he sees, changes his mind, so the priests spread nets in order to obtain offerings, that they might trick every person out of some gain.

13. It is written. Christ quotes two passages taken out of two Prophets; the one from Isaiah 56:7, and the other from Jeremiah 7:11. What was written by Isaiah agreed with the circumstances of the time; for in that passage is predicted the calling of the Gentiles. Isaiah, therefore, promises that God will grant, not only that the temple shall recover its original splendor, but likewise that all nations shall flow to it, and that the whole world shall agree in true and sincere piety. 1414     “A la vraye et droiet cognoissanc de Dieu;” — “in the true and right knowledge of God.” He speaks, no doubt, metaphorically; for the spiritual worship of God, which was to exist under the reign of Christ, is shadowed out by the prophets under the figures of the law. Certainly this was never fulfilled, that all nations went up to Jerusalem to worship God; and therefore, when he declares that the temple will be a place of prayer for all nations, this mode of expression is equivalent to saying, that the nations must be gathered into the Church of God, that with one voice they may worship the true God, along with the children of Abraham. But since he mentions the temple, so far as it then was the visible abode of religion, Christ justly reproaches the Jews with having applied it to totally different purposes from those to which it had been dedicated. The meaning therefore is: God intended that this temple should exist till no as a sign on which all his worshippers should fix their eyes; and how base and wicked is it to profane it by thus turning it into a market?

Besides, in the time of Christ, that temple was actually a house of prayer; that is, so long as the Law, with its shadows, remained in force. But it began to be a house of prayer for all nations, when out of it resounded the doctrine of the Gospel, by which the whole world was to be united in one common faith. And though shortly afterwards it was totally overthrown, yet even in the present day the fulfillment of this prophecy is manifest; for, since

out of Zion, went forth the law,
(Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:2,)

those who wish to pray aright must look to that beginning. I do acknowledge that there is no distinction of places, for it is the will of the Lord that men should call upon Him everywhere; but as believers, who profess to worship the God of Israel, are said to

speak in the language of Canaan, (Isaiah 19:18,)

so they are also said to come into the temple, because out of it flowed the true religion. It is likewise the fountain of the waters, which, enlarged to an astonishing degree within a short period, flow in great abundance, and give life to those that drink them, as Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47:9) mentions, 1515     “Et aussi c’est ceste source des quatre fleuves desquels Ezekiel (47:2) parle, qui doyvent arrouser les quatre coins du monde;” — “and this is also the source of the four rivers of which Ezekiel (47:2) speaks, which are to water the four quarters of the world.” which, going out from the temple, spread, as Zechariah (Zechariah 14:8) says, from the rising to the setting sun. Though in the present day we make use of temples (or churches) for holding the holy assemblies, yet it is for a different reason; for, since Christ was manifested, no outward representation of him under shadows is held out to us, such as the fathers anciently had under the Law.

It must also be observed, that by the word prayer the prophet expresses the whole worship of God; for, though there was at that time a great variety and abundance of religious rites, yet God intended briefly to show what was the object of all those rites; namely, that they might worship him spiritually, as is more clearly expressed in the fiftieth psalm, where also God comprehends under prayer all the exercises of religion.

But you have made it a den of robbers. Christ means that the complaint of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:11) applied equally well to his own time, in which the temple was not less corrupted. The prophet directs his reproof against hypocrites, who, through confidence in the temple, allowed themselves greater liberty in sinning. For, as it was the design of God to employ outward symbols, as a sort of rudiments, for instructing the Jews in true religion, so they satisfied themselves with the empty pretense of the temple, as if it were enough to give their attention to outward ceremonies; just as it is customary with hypocrites to

change the truth of God into a lie (Romans 1:25.).

But the prophet exclaims that God is not bound to the temple, or tied to ceremonies, and therefore that they falsely boast of the name of the temple, which they had made a den of robbers. For as robbers in their dens sin with greater hardihood, because they trust that they will escape punishment, so by means of a false covering of godliness hypocrites grow more bold, so that they almost hope to deceive God. Now as the metaphor of a den includes all corruptions, Christ properly applies the passage of the prophet to the present occasion.

Mark adds, that Christ gave orders that no man should carry a vessel through the temple; that is, he did not permit any thing to be seen there that was inconsistent with religious services; for by the word vessel the Hebrews denote any kind of utensil. In short, Christ took away whatever was at variance with the reverence and majesty of the temple.

14. And the blind and lame came to him. That the authority which Christ had claimed for himself out of the usual course might not be suspected of rashness, he supported it by miracles. He therefore cured the blind and lame in the temple, in order to proclaim that the rights and honor of Messiah truly belonged to him; for by these marks the prophets describe him. Hence we again perceive what I hinted a little ago that it is not every one of the people who is called to imitate this action of Christ lest he inconsiderately raise himself to the throne of the Messiah. We ought indeed to believe that the lame and blind, who were cured, were witnesses of the divine power of Christ, as if God, by his voice from heaven, approved what had been proclaimed by the multitude. 1616     “Comme si Dieu eust d’enhaut approuvé par sa voix les louanges que le peuple avoit proclamees en l’honneur de Christ;” — “as if God had from on high approved by his voice the praises which the people had proclaimed in honor of Christ.”

15. When the chief priests and scribes saw. Luke relates that the Pharisees began to grumble, while he was still on the road. 1717     “Christ estant encore en chemin;” — “Christ being still on the road.” It was the disciples that were then crying out: the others wished to have them silenced. Christ replied, that it was in vain for them to make opposition; because God would rather make the stones cry out than permit the reign of His Son to be forgotten. It is probable that, as the crying out was not diminished, and as even the children now joined in it, the scribes and priests were roused to still fiercer indignation, and then commenced a new attack on Christ. They appear indirectly to reproach him by alleging that he is desirous to obtain the praises of children.

But we must observe whence their displeasure arose. That it was connected with ungodly malice and outrageous contempt of God is evident from the fact, that his miracles gave them not less uneasiness than the shouts of applause. But I now inquire about some more special reason. What was it that chiefly vexed them? Now we know how eagerly they contended for their authority; for the object to which their zeal carried them was, that the tyranny, which they had once claimed, might continue to be enjoyed by them; and it was no slight diminution of their power, if the people were at liberty to bestow on Christ the title of King. Even in trifling matters they wished their decisions to be regarded as oracles, 1818     “Pour arrests ou revelations celestes;” — “as decisions or revelations from heaven.” so that it might not be permitted to approve or reject any thing but according to their pleasure. They therefore reckon it to be foolish and unreasonable, that the people should confer the title of Messiah on one whom they do not treat with any respect. And certainly, if they had done their duty, it would have been proper for them to direct the whole people, and to go before them as their leaders. For the priests had been appointed, that from their lips all might seek the knowledge of the Law, and, in short, that they might be the messengers and interpreters of the God of armies, (Malachi 2:7.) But as they had basely extinguished the light of truth, Christ appropriately replies, that they gain nothing by endeavoring to suppress the doctrine of salvation, for it will rather break out from the stones.

There is likewise an implied admission; for Christ does not deny that it is an unnatural order for the uneducated multitude and children to be the first to magnify with their voice the coming of the Messiah, but as the truth is wickedly suppressed by those who ought to have been its lawful witnesses, it is not wonderful if God raise up others, and — to their shame — make choice of children. Hence we derive no slight consolation; for though wicked men leave no stone unturned for concealing the reign of Christ, we learn from this passage that their efforts are in vain. They hope that, when some of the multitude, that is carrying forward the kingdom of Christ, shall have been put to death, and others shall be silenced by fear, they will gain their object. But God will disappoint them; for He will sooner give mouths and tongues to stones than allow the kingdom of His Son to be without witnesses.

16. And have you never read? The scribes and priests seize on this as an opportunity of calumniating Christ, that he allows himself to be called a King by children; as it is always the custom of wicked people haughtily to despise the mean condition of the disciples of Christ. This malicious design Christ checks by a quotation from David, who makes even infants to be the heralds of the glory of God. Literally the words run,

Out of the mouth of infants and sucklings thou hast founded strength, (Psalm 8:2;)

by which David means that, though every tongue were silent, 1919     “Quand toutes bouches seroyent closes, et toutes langues se tairoyent;” — “though every mouth were closed, and every tongue were silent.” God needs no other orators to proclaim his power than mere infants, who are still hanging on their mothers’ breasts. In themselves, no doubt, they are silent; but the wonderful providence of God, which shines in them, serves the purpose of splendid and powerful eloquence. For he who considers with himself how the child is formed in the mother’s womb, is nourished there for nine months, afterwards comes into the world, and finds nourishment provided as soon as it is born, must not only acknowledge that God is the Creator of the world, but will be altogether carried away into admiration of Him. 2020     “Mais aussi il entrera en une grande admiration de sa puissance et sagesse infinie;” — “but also will greatly admire His infinite power and wisdom.” Thus the sun and moon, though they are dumb creatures, are said to have a loud and distinct voice for singing the praises of God, (Psalm 19:1, 2.) But since the praises of God are heard from the tongue of infants, Christ infers from this, that it is not strange if He cause them to be uttered by children who have already acquired the use of speech.




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