Matthew 21:15

According to St. Mark's more detailed account, Jesus "looked round" on the day of his triumphant entrance to Jerusalem, and effected his drastic reformation of temple abuses on the following morning. Thus we see that his action did not spring from a hasty outburst of passion. It was the result of deliberation. He had had a night in which to brood over the shameful desecration of his Father's house.


1. The nature of it. It would be a mistake to suppose that the temple was being used as a common market. The animals sold were not to be treated as meat at the shambles. They were for sacrifices. The money changing was not for the convenience of foreigners wanting to be able to do business in the city with the current coin. This was carried on in order to provide for visitors the Hebrew shekel with which to pay the temple dues. Therefore, it was thought, the business was of a religious character, and could be carried on in the temple as part of the sacred work. Animals were sacrificed there: why should they not be sold there? Money was collected there: why should it not be exchanged there?

2. The evil of it.

(1) It interfered with worship. The outer courts of the temple were used for private prayer. But the confusion of a market was most distracting to the spirit of devotion.

(2) It was unjust to the Gentiles. This traffic seems to have been carried on in the court of the Gentiles. The Jews still reserved their own court in decorum. The prophecy from which our Lord quoted says that God's house "shall be called a house of prayer for all people (Isaiah 56:7). Thus the rights of the Gentiles were scornfully outraged.

(3) It imported dishonest dealing. The keen eye of Christ detected wrong dealing. It was not only trade, it was cheating that dishonoured the temple.


1. An act of holy indignation. Jesus was angry; he could be angry; sometimes he was moved with indignation. It is no sign of sanctity to be unmoved at the sight of what dishonours God and wrongs our fellow men. There is a guilty complacency, a culpable silence, a sinful calm.

2. An act of Divine authority. It was his Father's house that Christ was cleansing. He spoke and acted as the messenger of God even to those who did not know that he was the Son of God. Christ has power and authority.

3. An act of righteousness. He used force, but of course, if he had met with resistance, the merely physical power he put forth would soon have been overborne. Why, then, did he succeed? Because he had an ally in the breast of every man whom he opposed; the consciences of the traders fought with Jesus against their guilty traffic. He who fights for the right has mighty unseen allies. Do not we need a temple cleansing? The trade spirit desecrates religious work. Finance takes too prominent a place in the Church. It is possible to crush the spirit of private worship in low, unworthy ways of providing the means of public worship. We want the scourge of small cords to drive out the worldly methods of Christian work. - W.F.A.

The children crying in the temple.
It is upon the child that this sarcastic question still falls. Some hardly think the children can be converted. The Saviour's answer is splendid when He said, "Have you never read?" Never caught the inner sense, never read so as to understand, etc.


1. They are capable of that early grace with which true religion usually begins — a deep repentance.

2. No one who has seen converted children will ever doubt their capacity for faith, in some respects greater than that of the adult. Their faith is more easy, vivid, effective.

3. When they come to love our Lord, they do love.

4. I have noticed in children other virtues — courage, patience, great understanding of the fear of God.


1. They convey healing messages to those about them. The little maid who waited upon Naaman's wife. Often guide blind souls to the light. Often guide strong men to some great action.

2. They serve the Lord wonderfully by their prayers.


1. Nothing seems to me to glorify God so much as His condescension when He takes a little child and instructs it, and manifests Himself to the child. And what power is there in the conversion of a child. If you have any doubt try it yourself.

2. They glorify God because they do so rebuke His enemies. Who can see what some of us have seen in children, and not feel ashamed we have lived so long, and yet never yielded to the Redeemer's love?

3. They sometimes rebuke God's own people and so glorify Him. Those who have never made confession of faith, etc. Sunday-school teachers, you are engaged in a most blessed work — persevere.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is not well to overlook the influence of children, or to neglect them in making our efforts for the universal diffusion of the gospel. Let us:


(1)a correct knowledge of the state of the heathen;

(2)just views of the gospel as adapted to save them;

(3)right conceptions of the value of immortal souls;

(4)experimental knowledge of the love of Christ.


(1)contribute of their means;

(2)collect from others;

(3)pray for God's blessing to attend their efforts and give success;

(4)some children might seek gifts and talents for missionary work.


1. Gratitude to God for His goodness to them.

2. God's command.

3. Their own happiness.

(J. Burns, LL. D.)

I. THE DOCTRINE OF THE TEXT. Christ here refers to a composition of David in which he exalts the excellence of God's power. In this verse He illustrates His power by giving an instance of it, that God makes the weakest of His creatures instruments who were able to subdue the greatest powers of the world.

1. The sovereignty of God.

2. The sufficiency of God's strength.

3. The perfection of praise.

II. THE CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED WITH THE TEXT. Our Lord was making His last entry into Jerusalem.

1. A token of love.

2. A sign of hatred.

(1)God is never more glorified than in the religion of the young.

(2)All who acknowledge Christ are bound to promote this well-pleasing tribute to the glory of God.

(W. Harrison, M. A.)


1. The Saviour's wonders. The wonders wrought by Christ were diversified in character, comprehensive in extent, and adapted to the circumstances of the times. The scene of the miracles is the temple of God. On the one part, He cast out (vers. 12, 13); and on the other, He healed (ver. 14). What could have been better timed than following up the miracle of majesty with that of mercy?

2. The children's praises.

(1)The object of the praise, "The Son of David."

(2)The character of the praise.

(3)The parties engaged in rendering the praise.


1. The persons who were the subjects of this uneasiness.

2. The height to which their anger rose.

3. The way in which their displeasure was manifested.


IV. The ample INSTRUCTION derivable from the scenes and wonders that distinguish this eventful season.

1. They show the Saviour in the true dignity and glory of His character.

2. They show the glorious triumphs of the reign of grace, in the perfecting of the praise of babes.

3. Encouragement to parents to bring their children to Jesus and to His temple.

(J. Gray.)

God is glorious in the smallest as in the greatest of His works; the least flower awakens admiration in an equal degree with suns.

I. IT IS TO THE GLORY OF GOD THAT THERE IS SUCH A STATE AS THAT OF INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD. The infant mind is spread out to receive the impress of Christ. He has perfected praise in forming a period of human existence so capable of right impression.




V. But especially does God glorify Himself IN THE REMOVAL OF SO MANY LITTLE CHILDREN AT AN EARLY AGE.

VI. But it is especially in the assurances that the souls of departed children are HAPPY IN HEAVEN, that God's name is to be glorified.

(W. H. Lewis, D. D.)

Often, too, have little ones been the messengers of strength and consolation to believers. In one of the darkest periods of the Reformation, when Luther, Melancthon, and others were assembled under great dejection of spirit, to consult upon what should be done, Melancthon retired from the council in the deepest depression of spirit, but in a few moments returned again with a countenance beaming with confidence and joy; and when all were surprised at the change, he told them that he had just seen a sight which assured- him of success — he had seen some little children engaged in prayer for the Reformation, whom their mothers, who were assembled for the same purpose, had brought together, and he was assured such prayers would be heard of God. Courage in the needful hour, for the greatest work ever accomplished by uninspired men, was thus breathed into the soul through infants' prayers.

(W. H. Lewis, D. D.)

1. We see here that real piety is not confined to men of years or learning.

2. That religion in its main substance is adapted to the capacity of the young.

3. From the example before us we learn that great benefit may accrue to youth, from a stated attendance on Divine institutions. Public worship is as much an ordinance of God under the gospel, as was the Passover under the Law. The example of Jews bringing their children to the temple reproves the neglect of many Christians.

4. The young are under special obligations to acknowledge and praise the Redeemer. True religion will operate in pious affections and exercises of heart toward Christ.

5. That youthful piety is peculiarly pleasing to Christ.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

I. The children SEE, whilst others are blind. They see what scribe and priest, with all their learning, see not — the Son of David. Pride does not hinder their sight. There is fitness between the mind of youth and the truth as it is in Jesus.

II. The children SING, although others are silent.

III. The children receive the blessing which others lose.

(J. M. L.)

I. THE CHILDREN'S ACCLAMATION. "Hosannah to the Son of David." This considered as the language

(1)of faith and trust in Christ;

(2)of desire and good will;

(3)of praise;

(4)of triumphant joy. Remarks —

1. Behold the power of God's grace on young people!

2. How lovely and delightful is it to see such effects of it upon them!

3. How should this awaken a concern for the youth of our day!

II. THE OFFENCE TAKEN at these acclamations.

1. The persons who took the offence.

2. The matter of their offence.

3. The reasons of it.Remarks —

1. Behold the necessity of a supernatural work upon the heart to bring it over to Christ!

2. How vile a part do they act, who go about to discountenance and destroy the good dispositions of young people toward Christ and religion.

3. Let not any young people be discouraged by what others may do or say, to turn them aside from Christ and His ways.


1. He took notice of them.

2. The high account He made of what they did.

3. The reproof He gave to the chief priests and scribes for objecting against it.Inferences —

1. That it should be our great concern to own and honour Christ.

2. That the earlier we begin to own and honour Him, the more God's praise is thereby advanced.

3. That He will own and honour the young ones, who are brought to own and honour Him.

(John Guyse.)

How much better is it to see boys and girls showing a serious concern about Christ, about an interest in His favour and love, and in the benefits of His redemption, and about His honour and glory; and to see our sons and daughters preferring Him to all things else, and devoting themselves to His service; than to see them lavish away the sprightly parts of life in lightness and vanity, in rudeness and wickedness, and in thoughtless neglect, not to say contempt, of God and our Saviour, of religion, and everything that relates to their own real and eternal welfare!

(John Guyse.)

In describing his early persecutions in Moorfields, Whitefield says: "Several little boys and girls, who were fond of sitting round me on the pulpit while I preached, and handed to me people's notes — though they were often pelted with eggs, dirt, etc., thrown at me — never once gave way, but, on the contrary, every time I was struck, turned up their weeping eyes, and seemed to wish they could receive the blows for me. God made them, in their tender years, great and living martyrs for Him."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

How frequently are small things those which perfect anything! For instance: it is the bloom of the plum which perfects it, the scent in the flower, the cut of the nostril, or the dimples in a countenance, the short strings in a harp, the delicate finishing touches in a picture. What perfects a fireside but the children ]inks? what perfects a cathedral choir but the children's notes? and what perfects God's praise but the "mouth of babes and sucklings"?

(W. J. BoIton.)

I cannot help remembering when the Lord dealt with me as a child. If there was a child who knew the power of sin I did. Tenderly cared for, and kept from all sorts of evil company, yet there seemed in me as if the great deeps within my nature were broken up in vast masses of sin and rebellion against God. I have met with hundreds of persons every day in riper years who I am sure never felt the hundredth part of what I felt when I was as a child, under God's Spirit, feeling a hatred of myself because I had not lived to God and loved and served Him. I am sure I speak here what I do know, and testify what I have seen in scores of children, that their repentance has been true, thorough, deep, intelligent, and lasting, and they have known their way to the foot of the cross, and seen the great sacrifice, and have wept all the more to think they should have offended against love so infinite which redeemed them and made them free.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

For there seems to me to be something so chaste and beautiful, like the early dew glistening in the rising sun-light, about this blessed faith of the children. They may teach some of us how to believe in God. There is a story of a child who went to a prayer meeting summoned that they might pray for rain, and she took her umbrella with her. We pray, but we do not take our umbrellas. That is the very essence of faith — to expect a blessing and to be prepared for it. Children often in that way show to us that faith is not to be a show-thing, a pious thing to talk about, but a thing to act upon in ordinary concerns of everyday life.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

We don't always look for that in children, yet have they shown it. The martyr Laurence, who was burnt at Colchester, was so tortured in gaol that he had to be carried to the stake in a chair, and all the grown-up people, afraid that they might he burnt too, forsook him. But a child came up and said, "Lord, strengthen Thy servant." When one was burnt in Smithfield a boy was seen going home after the burning. Some one said, "Boy, why were you there?" He said, "Sir, I went to learn the way.' It may be said, "Oh, that was in the old days." But they are children like ours. A friend once said to the widow of a martyr, "Will you not urge your boy to forsake his faith? .... I have had many children," she said, "but I never had one so well bestowed as this dear boy, though he is to be burnt to death." He cheered his elder companion, and stood back to back with him in the flames. They have taken their fair share of suffering in martyr days.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It has been my pleasure lately to admit to the church a large number of little children, and I can say of each of them as I have talked with them — and I put many rather difficult questions to them about the things of God — and whenever the question has been vital, there has never been any hesitancy as to the answer. I had years ago a good brother who felt it necessary to put questions to young children which I did not like. He asked one child, "Have you given your heart to the Lord?" The little boy said, "Yes, sir." "Oh," my friend said, "you see his ignorance." I said, "Has the Lord given you a new heart?" "Yes, sir, the Lord Jesus gave me a new heart when I believed in Him, and I know it was a good one." My friend was shut up, and he did not ask any more questions of children for a great time. Perhaps what they know is truer wisdom sometimes than what the elders know. I read some time ago that the Jews permit children to read the Scriptures when they are five years old, but not the Talmud till they are fifteen. God help me to keep on reading the Scriptures and never get to the Talmud at all. Some will get so old that it is all Talmud with them — very little Bible. With the children there is no Talmud; they just keep to the smooth road. What they know is worth the knowing, whereas much that we know is worse than nothing, and it would be a great blessing if we forget it. Children can be quick in understanding in the fear of the Lord.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I heard of a little child whose father was wont to curse and swear, and when the father was indulging in some horrible language she went behind the door. The father said, "What are you doing there? Come out." Her eyes were red with weeping. "What are you crying for?" "Because, dear father, I could not bear to hear you talk like that." "Well, you shall never hear me talk like that again."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A little girl, who had long nursed a sick sister, was getting worn out. One morning, as she trudged along to procure medicine, she thought how hard it was to be always waiting on the invalid when the other children were at play, and when she thought also how likely it was her sister would die, between weariness and grief she began to weep bitterly. But a sudden thought crossed her mind. The verse came to her memory, "I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me." Day and night henceforward she never wearied in her attendance on the invalid. Her cheerful countenance did more good than the medicines; and ere long she had her reward, for her sister recovered.

An American writer says, "A boy, thirteen years of age, who attended one of our mission Sunday schools, was hopefully converted. His father was a dissipated, wicked man, who kept a drinking saloon, and thus not only got drunk himself, but caused others to do so. This dear boy asked his Sunday-school teacher what he should do, for his father would make him wait on the customers, handing out the poison to them; and if he had not better leave home. His teacher told him not to leave home, but begin at once to pray for his father, and she would pray for him, and for his father too; and they both commenced to pray for that father. In a few weeks he left off drinking, and soon after left off selling, too, and went to to work earn an honest living; 'for,' said he, with tears running down his face, 'something has bean the matter with my dear boy for sometime; and the other day I heard a noise in the room where he sleeps; it was a kind of a mournful noise, and I listened; and don't you think he was praying for me! He prayed that I would quit selling — for I had quit drinking some time before; and I felt I was doing wrong, and I have quit it all; and the next time you have a meeting I am coming with my boy.'"

We do not wonder to see a man of strong constitution, who eats his bread heartily, and sleeps soundly, live; but for a crazy body, full of ailments and infirmities, to be so patched and shored up by the physician's art, that he stands to old age, this begets some wonder in the beholders. It may be thou art a poor trembling soul, thy faith is weak, and thy assaults from Satan strong, thy corruptions stirring and active, and thy mortifying strength little, so that in thy opinion they rather gain ground on thy grace than give ground to it; ever and anon thou art ready to think thou shalt be cast as a wreck upon the devil's shore: and yet to this day thy grace lives, though full of leaks; now is it not worth the stepping aside to see this strange sight? A broken ship with masts and hull rent and torn, thus towed along by Almighty power, through an angry sea, and armadas of sins and devils, safely into His harbour. To see a poor dilling or rush candle in the face of the boisterous winds and not blown out: in a word, to see a weak stripling in grace held up in God's arms till he beats the devil craven: this God is doing in upholding thee; thou art one of these babes, out of whose mouth God is perfecting His praise, by ordaining such strength for thee, that thou, a babe in grace, shalt yet foil a giant in wrath and power.

(W. Gurnal.)

Matthew 21:15 NIV
Matthew 21:15 NLT
Matthew 21:15 ESV
Matthew 21:15 NASB
Matthew 21:15 KJV

Matthew 21:15 Bible Apps
Matthew 21:15 Parallel
Matthew 21:15 Biblia Paralela
Matthew 21:15 Chinese Bible
Matthew 21:15 French Bible
Matthew 21:15 German Bible

Matthew 21:15 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Matthew 21:14
Top of Page
Top of Page