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Whose House Is It?

Briefing: Have you ever been on a call where there has clearly been some kind of incident but no one wants to talk? I’ve seen drug dealers shot but no one wanted to press charges or tell who did it because they were afraid of exposing their own guilt in an investigation.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Matthew 21:12-17.

On the Street: If we view this passage from the eyes of law enforcement officers, our first reaction is that Jesus must be wrong. He is causing a disturbance? right?

Let’s take a closer look at what Jesus did. He overturned the tables of the money changers and benches of those selling doves. Why would He do that? I am not qualified to speak for Jesus but I do know what the next verse says. Jesus quotes from Isaiah 56:7 and accuses these money changers and the people selling doves of being thieves. It was not uncommon for the money changers to cheat people with dishonest scales. I have no doubt that there was cheating, and a lot of it happening.

My next question is this; what do you charge a person with who breaks their own property? There is no charge, this is His house. I think it is so interesting, at the end of this story, when we hear from the chief priest. What is their complaint? It is not that Jesus overturned the tables and ran the thieves and robbers out of His house. As a cop this makes me suspicious. They were upset because children were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David”. Were the chief priests in on the cheating scales? Were they getting kickbacks? They were upset because children are claiming Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ.

After Jesus “cleans house”, He shows the people what His father’s house was meant to be. Jesus shows compassion on the blind and lame. Jesus told us in Matthew 12:7, “I desire mercy not sacrifice” and here He is being true to His word.

Highlights from this Read: Verse 15 discusses “wonderful acts”. Why didn’t the chief priests recognize them as wonderful? Jesus was a threat to them. He was a threat to their position of power, their livelihood, and the entire religious system.

Verse 16 mentions “infants” in the sentence. The NKJV calls them “nursing infants”. We have seen how ALL creation cries out to its creator (Isaiah 24:1-13 and Romans 8:18-22), I like the thought that a nursing infant knows God. What happens to that knowledge of God as we grow older?

In verse 17 we are told that He did not stay in Jerusalem. This reminds me of His birth (Luke 2:7); there was no room for Him. This seems to be an earthly pattern, no room for Christ.

Investigational Resources: Malachi 3:1 (fulfillment), Isaiah 56:7 (fulfillment of verse 13), Proverbs 11:1 (dishonest scales), Psalm 8:2 (verse 16), Jeremiah 7:9-11 (the house of the Lord). Also see Mark 11:15-18 and Luke 19:45-47.

Officer Safety Principle: As mentioned in the Highlights from the Read, in verse 17, make room in your life for Christ.

from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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