The Last Visit of Jesus to the Temple
Jesus and the Money Changers
Matthew xxi: 18,
to xxiii: 39;
Mark xi: 12, to xii: 44;
Luke xix: 45,
to xxi: 4.
Monday morning, the second day of the week, Jesus
rose very early in the morning and, without waiting
to take his breakfast, went with his disciples from
Bethany over the Mount of Olives toward Jerusalem.
On the mountain he saw at a distance a fig-tree
covered with leaves, and although it was early for
figs to be ripe, he hoped that he might find upon it
some figs fit to be eaten. Among the Jews, and by
their law, any one passing a tree could eat of its
fruit, even though he were not the owner; but he
would not be allowed to carry any away.
But when Jesus came near to this tree he saw that
there was no fruit upon it, neither ripe nor green,
but leaves only. Then a thought came into the mind
of Jesus; and he spoke to the tree, while his
disciples heard his words, "No fruit shall grow on
thee from this time forever." And then he walked on
his way to Jerusalem. We shall see later why Jesus
spoke those words, and what came from them.
You remember that when Jesus came to Jerusalem the
first time after he began to preach, he found the
courts of the Temple filled with people buying, and
selling, and changing money, and he drove them all
out. But that had been three years before; and now
when Jesus came into the Temple on the Monday
morning before the Passover he found all the traders
there once more, selling the oxen, and sheep, and
doves for sacrifices and changing money at the
And again Jesus rose up against these people who
would make his Father's house a shop and a place of
gain. He drove them all out; he turned over the
tables of the money-changers, scattering their money
on the floor; he cleared away the seats of those
that were selling doves; and whenever he saw any one
even carrying a jar, or a basket, or any load
through the Temple, he stopped him, and made him go
back. He said to all the people, "It is written in
the prophets, 'My house shall be called a house of
prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den
of robbers!' "
The Jews had made it a rule that no blind man, nor
any lame man, could go into the Temple; for they
thought only those perfect in body should come
before the Lord. But they forgot that God looks at
hearts and not at bodies. And when Jesus found that
many blind and lame people were at the doors of the
Temple he allowed them to come in, and made them all
And the little children, who always loved Jesus, saw
him in the Temple, and they cried out, as they heard
others crying, "Hosanna to the Son of David!"
The chief priests and scribes were greatly
displeased as they heard the voices of these
children, and they said to Jesus, "Do you hear what
these are saying?"
And Jesus said, "Yes; and have you never read what
is written in the Psalms, 'Out of the mouth of babes
and little ones, thou hast made thy praise perfect?'
And all the common people came to hear Jesus as he
taught in the Temple, and they listened to him
gladly, for he gave them plain and simple teachings,
with many parables or stories. But the rulers and
chief priests grew more and more angry as they saw
the courts of the Temple filled with people eager to
hear Jesus. They tried to find some way to lay hands
on Jesus, and to kill him; but they dared not while
all the crowds were around him.
All that day Jesus taught the people, and when night
came he went out of the city, over the Mount of
Olives, to Bethany, where he was safe among his
And on the next morning, which was Tuesday of the
week before the Passover, Jesus again went over the
Mount of Olives with his disciples. They passed the
fig-tree to which Jesus had spoken such strange
words on the day before. And now the disciples saw
that the tree was standing, withered and dried, with
its leaves dry and rustling in the wind.
"Look, Master!" said Peter.
"The fig-tree to which you spoke yesterday is
And Jesus said to them all, "Have faith in God, for
in truth I say to you, that if you have faith, you
shall not only do this which has been done to the
fig-tree; but also, if you shall say to this
mountain, 'Be moved away and thrown into the sea!'
it shall be done. And all things, whatever they may
be, that you ask in prayer, if you have faith, shall
be given to you." Again Jesus went into the Temple
and taught the people.
And Jesus gave another parable or story, that of
"The Wedding Feast." He said:
"There was a certain king who made a great feast at
the wedding of his son; and he sent out his servant
to call those whom he had invited to the feast. But
they would not come. Then he sent forth other
servants, and said, 'Tell those who were invited
that my dinner is all ready; my oxen are killed, and
the dishes are on the table. Say to them, "All
things are ready; come to the marriage-feast!" '
"But the men who had been sent for would not come.
One went to his farm, another to his shop, and some
of them seized the servants whom he sent, and beat
them, and treated them roughly; and some of them
they killed. This made the king very angry. He sent
his armies, and killed those murderers, and burned
up their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The
wedding-feast is ready, but those that were invited
were not worthy of such honor. Go out into the
streets, and call in everybody that you can find,
high and low, rich and poor, good and bad, and tell
them that they are welcome.'
"The servants went out and invited all the people of
every kind, and brought them to the feast, so that
all the places were filled. And to all who came they
gave a wedding garment, so that every one might be
dressed as was fitting before the king.
"But when the king came in to meet his guests, he
saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment. He
said to him, 'Friend, why have you come to the feast
without a wedding garment?'
"The man had nothing to say; he stood as one dumb.
Then the king said to his officers, 'Bind him hand
and foot, and throw him out into the darkness, where
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For in
the kingdom of God many are called, but few are
The enemies of Jesus thought that they had found a
way to bring him into trouble, either with the
people, or with the Romans, who were the rulers over
the land. So they sent to him some men, who acted as
though they were honest and true, but were in their
hearts seeking to destroy Jesus. These men came, and
they said, "Master, we know that you teach the
truth, and that you are not afraid of any man. Now
tell what is right, and what we should do. Ought our
people, the Jews, to pay taxes to the Roman Emperor
Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?"
And they watched for his answer. If he should say,
"It is right to pay the tax," then these men could
tell the people, "Jesus is the friend of the Romans,
and the enemy of the Jews," and then they would turn
away from him. But if he should say, "It is not
right to pay the tax; refuse to pay it," then they
might say to the Roman governor that Jesus would not
obey the laws, and the governor might put him in
prison or kill him. So whatever answer Jesus might
give, they hoped he might make trouble for himself.
But Jesus knew their hate and the thoughts of their
hearts, and he said, "Let me see a piece of the
money that is given for the tax."
They brought him a silver piece, and he looked at
it, and said, "Whose head is this on the coin? Whose
name is written over it?"
They answered him, "That is Caesar, the Roman
"Well, then," said Jesus, "give to Caesar the things
that are Caesar's, and give to God the things that
They wondered at his answer, for it was so wise that
they could speak nothing against it. They tried him
with other questions, but he answered them all, and
left his enemies with nothing to say. Then Jesus
turned upon his enemies, and spoke to them his last
words. He told them of their wickedness, and warned
them that they would bring down the wrath of God
Jesus was in the part of the Temple called "The
Treasury," because around the wall were boxes in
which the people dropped their gifts when they came
to worship. Some that were rich gave much money; but
a poor widow came by and dropped in two little
coins, the very smallest, the two together worth
only a quarter of a cent. Jesus said, "I tell you in
truth that this poor widow has dropped into the
treasury more than all the rest. For the others gave
out of their plenty, but she, in her need, has given
all that she had."
And with these words Jesus rose up, and went out of
the Temple for the last time. Never again was the
voice of Jesus heard within those walls.
Jesus and the Money Changers