The Miracles in the Temple on Monday
Jesus brings division. People are for him, and people are against him. This is true today, and this was true throughout his ministry. We see this on the Monday prior to his crucifixion on Good Friday.
Jesus had entered Jerusalem on Sunday in a remarkable public manifestation of himself as the Messiah (Matt. 21:10). Riding upon a donkey in joyful celebration, he fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah: “Behold, your King is coming to you; he is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9). A vast crowd went before him and followed from behind him (Matt. 21:9). “As he went, many spread their clothes on the road” (Luke 19:36). All of this reflected ancient traditions associated with kingship in the Old Testament. David and Solomon rode a mule, the offspring of a male donkey (1 Kings 1:33-35); and the soldiers placed their clothes on the ground under the feet of Jehu and blew their trumpets declaring him to be king (2 Kings 9:13). There was the explicit declaration of the part of the multitude of the disciples that Jesus indeed is the Messiah: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38).
What a day it had been! It had been filled with jubilation, and his disciples had been determined to give to the Lord the honor that was his due. Now it was Monday, and Jesus had entered the temple. “The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them” (Matt. 21:14). Surely his miracles would prove the case: this has to be the Messiah! Certainly they would see that this was the very thing that Isaiah had foretold, “The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing” (Isa. 35:5-6a).
Once again, as it had always been the case, the people were divided about him. The children understood what all of this had to mean. They were “crying out in the temple and saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’” (Matt. 21:15). They knew enough to begin to praise God for the Son of David who was standing before them. The Sadducees and the Old Testament scholars had no worship to offer. “When the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out . . . they were indignant and said to him, ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’” (Matt. 21:15-16a). Just as he had defended the devotion of Mary, Jesus came to the defense of the children by quoting from the Psalmist: “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise?’” (Matt. 21:16b).
How are we to understand this? Mighty works were done in public view. The blind could now see, and the lame could now leap for joy. The children rejoiced, and the elites grumbled. The children loved him, and the Sadducees hated him and within days would hand him over to the Romans to be put to death.
In our next study we shall consider the biblical explanation for these astounding events, the radically different responses to Jesus.