Questions about scripture for the 9th Fri after Pentecost Mat 20:17-28


12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,{13} And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

How many times did Jesus do this (occurrences)? How were they spaced in time? Describe other occurrences, and compare with this one.







Jesus also cast out the moneychangers very early in Him ministry, after His first miracle:

"11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.{12} After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.{13} And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.{14} And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:{15} And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;{16} And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.{17} And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. " (John 2:11-17)

The present occurrence we are studying occurred very late in His ministry. His response was much more harsh, as the Jews had learned little in three years, and still did not obey Him, therefore, He calls them "thieves".



"It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. "

Where is this written?







" Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. " (Isaiah 56:8)



Why did he call the money changers and sellers a "den of thieves"?







This is the fulfillment of a prophesy in Jeremiah: "{1} The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,{2} Stand in the gate of the LORD's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.{3} Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.{4} Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.{5} For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;{6} If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:{7} Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.{8} Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.{9} Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear ! falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;{10} And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?{11} Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. " (Jeremiah 7:1-11)

A "den of thieves" is a proverbial expression, indicating wicked and unprincipled men.



{15} And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased..."

Why were the chief priests and scribes displeased?







Jealousy. They saw Jesus as a threat to their position and way of life. "Is thine eye evil because I am good"?



Why is Jesus called the "Son of David". What were the implications of this appellation to the Jewish people? What does "Hosanna" mean?







The Jews knew that the Messiah had been prophesied to be of the line of David the King. The appellation "Son of David" was another name for the Messiah. Hosanna means "Save now, we beseech thee".



"16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? "

Where is this written?







"Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. " (Psalms 8:2)



"17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there."

Where did Jesus most likely stay in Bethany?







Jesus' good friend Lazarus (who he raised form the dead after four days), and Martha and Mary lived in Bethany, and He stayed with them when He was there.



"18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.{19} And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away."

What does the fig tree represent? What is the teaching of the miracle? Recall a parable about the fig tree.







The fig tree represents the Jews, or rather, those who would remain obdurate in their religion, and reject the Messiah.

"He withers the tree, then, in order to chasten men. The disciples marvel, and with good reason. For the fig tree contains a great amount of sap, and so the fact that it withered immediately serves all the more to indicate the miracle. The fig tree means the synagogue of the Jews, which has only leaves, that is, the visible letter of the law, but not the fruit of the Spirit. But also every man who gives himself over to the sweetness of the present life is likened to a fig tree, who has no spiritual fruit to give to Jesus who is hungry for such fruit, but only leaves, that is, temporal appearances which fall away and are gone. This man, then, hears himself cursed. For Christ says, Go, ye accursed, into the fire. But he is also dried up; for as he roasts in the flame, his tongue is parched and withered like that of the rich man of the parable, who in his life had ignored Lazarus." Blessed Theophylact, Commentary on Matthew)



Did the fig tree wither right then and there? Why or why not?







The Evangelist indefinitely said "Presently" the fig tree withered away. From St Marks's account, we can see that it was withered the next day:

"11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve. 12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:{13} And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.{14} And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.{15} And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;{16} And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. {17} And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.{18} And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.{19} And when even was come, he went out of the city.{20} And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots." (Mark 11:11-20)



When the disciples marvelled about the withered fig tree, Jesus seized the opportunity to teach them something important about faith. Explain.







"21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. {22} And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. {23} For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. {24} Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. {25} And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. {26} But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." (Mark 11:21-26)


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