Devolving Rejection Of Christ, Pt. 1

Jul 30, 2023

Devolving Rejection Of Christ, Pt. 1

Passage: Matthew 21:12-17

Preacher: Jeff Crotts

Series: Matthew

Category: Sunday Morning


Matthew 21, Devolving Rejection of Christ

Intro: Preaching rest chp. 21, as single sermon.

  • Unit’s point, our world is devolving.
    • People desperate to believe it’s getting better.
      • Evolving, when it’s not.
        • “We could be doing so much better!”
        • “Should not be hate, crime, hurt, sickness, death, or unfairness in our world.”


  • Denying sin, effect in world, sinfulness of man.


  • Rejecting X is apex expression of disillusionment.
    • Solution to problem is push X away.
    • Jesus is path out from what’s wrong.


  • Bible promises increasing rejection of Christ, bc/devolving world.

[Appl] Society convinced its progressing, w/potential to progress.

Evolving intellectually, metabolically, anatomically, and that there will be some kind of coming breakthrough where things will trend better, when in fact things are going in the opposite direction.

Surging A.I. tech w/designs to merge w/human psyche should be concerning. Brain chips planted in monkeys. Chat GPT.

Fascination w/Aliens which is a nod toward evolution, denying Scriptures testimony that man is the pinnacle of creation, image-bearers.

Climate change as a form of reverse Babylon, where man at the center of the universe can passively tear the planet down, as if gods.

[TRANS] Resolution always found in X.

  • X entered Jerusalem met w/shouts of praise but next day turns the tables (literally).
    • X demands holiness for fellowship.

[Illus] Static on the line must be cleared before connection w/God.


  • X interrupts the world’s delusions.
    • To present grace.
    • To reject self.
    • Come to our worthy, X on his terms, no conditions.

[KEY] X mission always boils down to two groups:

  • Rejectors and Remnant.
  • Believers and unbelievers.
    • Majority rejects X.
    • Minority receives X.


  • Trends w/in the church wanting to fix, digressive nature of our world.
    • National reconstruction; not what X promised.
    • Nothing different than times of X.

ESV  John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. (Joh 15:20 ESV)


[TRANS] Matthew 21 is flyover exposing X’s rejection, while highlighting hope w/bold reception.   

Prop: Five devolving rejections with five hopeful receptions of Christ

  1. Racketeers vs. Innocents (vv. 12-16)


  1. Christ cleans house.

First scene, X entering temple.

  • Epicenter for religious sentiment.
    • Pulse felt for spiritual condition/culture w/in Jerusalem.
      • X moving rt/ inside temple as first order of business.
        • Telling agenda.
        • Chief concern for hearts.


  • Mark 11’s account, X entered temple day after arrival.

ESV  Mark 11:11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Mar 11:11 ESV)

[KEY] “Jesus entered the temple” into a racketeering system!

  • Exploiting all-comers, leveraging Passover, product for profit.
    • Scene demonstrative, 2nd time X drove money-changers out of temple.
      • X created a whip, drove people out @/Passover (cf. Jn. 2:13-16).
      • Rebuke issued 2nd time (not same event).
        • X shutting operation down.
        • Problem nt/w/business but exploitation.

[TRANS] Knowing background of Temple answers why X cleansed it.

  • Temple 1st constructed under King Solomon (son of David, 1 Kings 6-9).

ESV  1 Kings 8:43 hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name. (1Ki 8:43 ESV)


ESV  2 Chronicles 6:12-14 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands.

13 Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court, and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven,

14 and said, "O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart, (2Ch 6:12-14 ESV)



  • Temple meant to solemnize God’s witness w/in people; and project God’s witness to the world.
    • Temple’s 4 four divisions reflect dual purposes:
      • Court of Gentiles,
      • Court of women,
      • Court of Jews,
      • Holy of Holies.


  • Compromising holiness w/paganism incites God’s punishment.
    • Temple destroyed by Babylonians 586 BC.
    • Return from 70 yr. exile.
      • Zerubbabel led rebuilding Temple.
      • Under new masters, the Persians.


  • Not as glorious as before.
    • Renewed place for sacrifices under priesthood of Zadokite family (Ezra 8-10; Neh. 12-13).
    • Second Temple for 400 years until enlarged (beautified) under Herod the Great (30-20 BC.).


  • Completed AD 64 and crushed by Roma, August, AD 70.

[Note] During the reign of Herod, priesthood corrupt, no longer from line of Sons of Zadok but now under illegitimate line of Annas, priest under Roman rule (i.e. Caiaphas who oversaw Jesus’ trial).

  • Corrupt leaders funded wealth through “Temple Business” exploiting people who needed Passover animals, and as gentiles the exchange of currency.


[Illus] Josephus said there were upwards to 1 million people there, 5x normal population and the court of Gentiles welcomed the masses up to 100,000 inside.


  • Passover (like Pentecost) was Jews witness of Yahweh to the world.
    • Jews & proselyte Gentiles make pilgrimage to worship Yahweh.
      • Abraham (Gen. 12:3), “in you all the nations of the earth will be blessed.”
      • X called this temple “…a house of prayer for all the nations…” (cf. Mark 11:17).


  • Masses at Triumphal Entry, “…the crowds that went before him and followed…” (cf. Matt. 21:9) were thousands.


  • “Annas’ Bazaar” w/venders [middle eastern Bazaar].
    • Scam center [corrupt customs].
      • Commoners price-gouged w/exchange rate of 6%.
      • w/o exact change 6% more (miss appropriating Ex. 30:11-16; see “temple tax” Mt. 17:22-27).  

[KEY] Passover pilgrims w/o lamb, needed a pigeon; could afford.

  • Lamb had to be perfect.
  • Buying a sacrifice not the sin, consumerism was.
    • Come to temple to give not take.
    • To worship not consume.

[TRANS] X “…entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons” (v. 12).

  • Display of supernatural power.
    • Samson-like.
    • X empowered by the Spirit (likewise, fully God).


  • X held off crowds (thousands) from proceeding w/business.

ESV  Mark 11:16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. (Mar 11:16 ESV)

[KEY] As dramatic as imaginable.

            [Illus] 100,000 people rushing the field, winning the college national championship.


[KEY] Jesus’ rebuke calls to temple to be known for prayer, not exploitation.

  • Religious leaders made “a den of robbers” (v. 13).

[Appl] Religious people ignore X in the context of worship, invariably will devolve into worldly tactics to as substitution for spiritual life (sub inspiration for true worship).

Church methodologies that ignore Jesus, specifically ignoring his Word.

Churches will gather for every reason imaginable, inspiring people with programs verses preaching.

[KEY] Jesus conflates two OT prophecies to make his point: Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11.

[Illus] God’s demand for holiness is nothing new.

His call for separation from sin goes back to the sin thein the garden, where the first image bearers were sent out of God’s Garden, forbidden return.

God cleansed the world with a flood, cleansed wilderness children from false calf worship, cleansed the temple of strange fire (Nadab and Abihu 1st 2 sons of Aaron), cleansed sons of Eli (Hophni and Phineas for robbing sacrifice), cleansed the drunken sons of Samuel, cleansed Israel twice with woes to their shepherds and sheep and exiles, Nehemiah cleansed the priesthood and temple furniture even after return (Neh. 13:9).

The church, God’s NT temple (Acts 2, 1 Cor. 6) was cleansed of Ananias and Saphira of lying, cleansed through church discipline, called to forsake paganism (1 Cor. 6), to separation (2 Cor. 6:17), to holiness (1 Pet. 2:5), to avoid false spirits (1 Jn. 4), to keep first love, not have lampstand removed, and to stay alive (Rev. 1).    


  1. Christ’s brings healing.

[Note] Once racketeers cleared out, innocents flood in.  

ESV  Leviticus 21:17-18 "Speak to Aaron, saying, None of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God.18 For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, (Lev 21:17-18 ESV)

  • Levitical law prohibited entrance before, now answered w/coming of X.

ESV  Acts 3:1-2 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.

2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. (Act 3:1-2 ESV)


[KEY] The first arrivals were “the blind and lame” (v. 14).

  • Formerly outcasts for temple life.
    • Drawn, welcomed by purity.
    • By grace, by Jesus.


  • They “came to him in the temple” (v. 14).
    • Jesus chose to make them whole.
    • Visual test for “the chief priests and scribes” (v. 15).


  • They had (before) attributed Jesus’ healing power as demonic.

ESV  Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons." (Mat 12:24 ESV)

  • X displayed physical power upending the Temple and healing supernaturally.
    • Physically saw what was indisputably “wonderful” (v. 15).
    • Heard, “the children crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’” (v. 15).


  • The “boys” @/Passover.
    • 12-year-old boys for bar-mitzvah.
    • Celebrate first Passover.


  • Jesus had done @/12 yrs. old (Luke 2:42).


[Note] There were two groups, “…the blind and lame” and “children” training under Torah.

  • Innocents contrast, religious racketeers.
    • World wants a profit and children want X to save!
      • “Hosanna” means “Save us now” [purest sense] and children say this was Messiah.


  • X’s Reference, Psalm 8:2 could only be him applying this to himself as “God.”

ESV  Psalm 8:2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. (Psa 8:2 ESV)

[KEY] Religious leaders were “indignant” (v. 15) meaning, angry. Why?

  • X wrecked, profit scheme but they were “indignant” at X being called, Savior.
    • The religious leaders wanted savior status.
    • A false promise, things will evolve, get better.


  • Leaders rhetorically ask, “Do you hear what these are saying?” (v. 16).
    • Jesus’ responds with affirmation, Quoting Psalm 8:2.


  • “infants” and “nursing babies” are “innocents.”


  • Not willful sinners.
    • What bubble’s forth is unmixed worship.
    • Unlike masses before.


“Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise?” (v. 16).


  • Contrasting consumers.

[KEY] Not dissimilar to what Jesus told the Pharisees when he rode in for his triumphal entry (day before).

ESV  Luke 19:40 He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." (Luk 19:40 ESV)


Conclusion: “What makes our church a house of prayer?”

  • We are the temple not the building (Acts 2, 1 Cor. 6, 1 Peter 2:5, Hebrews 10:24-25).


  • We are called to gather, sing, pray, fellowship, give, to teach, preach, and hear the Word, practice our spiritual gifts, and to be holy.


  • When people come as visitors, what kind of celebration will they find? “Surely God is in this place!” (1 Cor. 14:25).


  • These measurements of faithfulness, set us apart to please the Lord and draw others to him.



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