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Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Jesus Cleanses the Temple Hero Image Jesus Cleanses the Temple Hero Image

Welcome to our Holy Week devotional series! Each day, you can read reflections on the biblical events of Easter week and learn why they matter for us today. Below the Scripture Guide for each day, you’ll find a kids’ version that can be read together as a family, complete with a fun Easter-themed activity. You can also download the full week’s worth of Watermark Kids devotionals here.

Holy Week: Monday, April 11

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all include accounts of Jesus entering into the temple in Jerusalem and immediately driving people out and overturning tables. However, while each account is slightly different, one thing remains the same: Jesus drove out those selling in His Father’s house. Jesus was driving out merchants and moneychangers making it difficult for people to enter in and worship God. This was not the first time Jesus cleansed a temple (see John 2:13-17). It is a little shocking to imagine Jesus knocking over tables and chasing people out of a building. This can seem a little out of place with how we normally view Jesus our Savior. Yet, the Gospel accounts work together to give us better understanding of who Jesus is and why He cleansed the temple.

In the following verses in Matthew and Luke, Jesus says, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). Jesus is quoting a verse from the Old Testament (Jeremiah 7:11), where the Lord speaks through Jeremiah and says, “Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.” We now know this temple is God’s house.

Can you imagine leaving your house in the hands of someone you trusted only to return home and find it crowded, trashed, and filled with animals? God considered the Holy Temple in Jerusalem a sanctuary for His people to worship Him but instead, it had become a sanctuary for people’s greed. Pray we would never consider a church building or making money more important than our faith and relationship with God (Isaiah 56:4-7). Let it never be so.

The Gospel authors depict Jesus as angry, but not in the way we typically get angry. This is wholly unlike when someone cuts us off in traffic, eats the last slice of pizza, or makes us feel cheated or wronged. Jesus had righteous anger seeing His Father’s house defiled for profit. These merchants were creating barriers between God’s people and worshiping Him. Righteous anger is marked by love and humility; righteous anger is being angry about what makes God Himself angry. As sinners, this is difficult for us to learn. Unlike Jesus, we typically fall into sinful anger. Sinful anger is where we are prideful, selfish, and not glorifying God. Are you quick to listen or quick to be angry? What are some steps you can take in making your anger more righteous? (James 1:19-21)

Matthew, Mark, and Luke don’t only tell us of Jesus cleansing the temple in Jerusalem but also paint a picture of what the last week of Jesus’s life looks like. Jesus knew that cleansing the temple would upset the religious leaders even more. A few days later, the religious leaders come in the night to arrest Jesus. In His last days, Jesus knew he was walking towards His death, but He still continued to glorify and honor His Father in heaven.

So, are we going to be like the selfish merchants, prone to distract others from worshiping? Or are we going to be more like Christ and have courage to seek the truth, know God’s heart, and act on it?

Holy Week for Kids: Monday, April 11

Teach your children the story of Easter with these kid-friendly Holy Week devotionals, discussion questions, and fun family activities. You can download the full week’s worth of devotionals below.

Download the PDF Guide

Jesus Heals

Theme: Miracles 

Scripture: Matthew 21:12-17 

Story:  
The religious leaders in charge of the temple had made it harder for people to worship God. The temple was God’s house, which means it was also Jesus’s house. Jesus went into the temple and cleaned it up so that people could focus on worshiping and praying to God. Jesus also proved that He was God’s Son by performing miracles. A miracle is something wonderful that only God can do. Jesus healed people who couldn’t see or couldn’t walk. The kids who were in the temple were so excited to see Jesus and His miracles that they shouted out praises to Him. 

Questions:  

  • Why was Jesus able to do miracles? 
  • Why did Jesus heal the people who came to Him?  

Activity:  
Get some sidewalk chalk and use it to decorate the sidewalks in your neighborhood with the good news about Easter! You can let your family be as creative as they want in what they write or draw, but here are some ideas: 

  • Pick your favorite Bible verse that talks about Jesus (John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 are great places to start), write them on your sidewalk, and draw pictures to illustrate them. 
  • Draw different symbols of Holy Week, like palm leaves or the empty tomb. 
  • Illustrate your favorite story from the Bible. Don’t forget to write the verse reference! 
  • Share the gospel using helpful tools like one-verse evangelism, the Romans road, or the bridge illustration—all of which you can find here.  
  • Invite neighbors to join you for Easter services. 
  • Let each person pick a square of the sidewalk and draw their favorite thing about God.