The Temple's Purpose (Matthew 21:12–13) - Radical
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The Temple’s Purpose (Matthew 21:12–13)

Before we dive into a text, and pray according to that text, I just wanna thank you. So this is the 101st episode of Pray the Word. And as you’ve shared stories and reviews and all kinds of ways, just responded to this podcast, I just wanna thank you for going on this journey through the Word, praying according to it. So here’s to hundreds more Pray the Word podcasts in the days to come.

Jesus is passionate about our lives being focused on seeking God.

Let’s dive in.

“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple. And he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, ‘It is written, my house shall be called a house of prayer. But you make it a den of the robbers.'” 

Matthew 21:12–13 

There is so much we can talk about in this passage. This scene, you can just imagine the intensity of it. It almost seems out of character in a sense for Jesus to be turning over tables. You can only imagine just people’s response to this. What is he doing? And why is he doing this? And it’s clear. He is passionate about the temple of God being a place of prayer to God, of seeking after God, of glorifying God, which is not the way they were treating it in this passage.

And this is one of those places you just can’t leave this here, because we keep turning the pages of the New Testament, and we realize, when Jesus died on the cross, the temple was torn in two. So it was no longer a physical place people would go to to encounter the glory of God, that Jesus had made a way for us to encounter the glory of God.

You Are A Temple for the Holy Spirit

And we find out, 1 Corinthians 6, we are, our bodies, as followers of Christ, are the temple of the holy spirit. God’s spirit dwells in us. We are the temple. So you take that reality and you put it next to this text, and you realize Jesus is passionate about your life, my life, being a place that seeks God. That our bodies are to be focused on prayer to God, on giving glory to God, on seeking after God. Not seeking after our own gain. This whole picture of making a den of robbers. You’ve taken the temple of God and you’ve turned it into a place where you’re trying to seek your own gain and benefit in this world. And that is, that misses the whole point of the temple.

So, to look at our lives and to realize we are the temple of the holy spirit. We have the privilege of prayer, from a moment-by-moment, day-by-day basis. And we have a opportunity, the joy of seeking after God, knowing God, and we want God to be glorified in our lives, in our bodies.

Matthew 21:12–13 Emphasizes Glorifying God Through Actions

So we pray. Oh, let’s pray today. God, help us, as temples of Your holy spirit, to seek after You. Make us men, women of prayer who are long with You in prayer, who commune with You in prayer. God, keep us from being a prayer-less people. Guard us from the self-sufficiency that tempts us on a daily basis, that tempts us to go through our days doing all kinds of different things, but missing out on the beauty of communion with You. Help us to walk in communion with You. And God, just as the temple in the Old Testament, even this picture of the New Testament, this building was constructed to bring You glory, to be a place for people could see, encounter the glory of God. May it be so in our lives.

God, may our lives, our bodies, bring You glory today as temples of Your holy spirit. May we be men and women of prayer, and men and women who are glorifying You all day long. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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