Lesson 8

Jesus Christ Cleanses the Temple

“Lesson 8: Jesus Christ Cleanses the Temple,” Primary 7: New Testament (1997), 25–28


To help each child feel greater love and respect for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and for sacred places.


  1. Prayerfully study John 2:13–16, Matthew 21:12–14, Luke 19:45–48, and Exodus 20:7. Then study the lesson and decide how you want to teach the children the scripture account (see “Preparing Your Lessons,” p. vi, and “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii).

  2. Additional reading: Mark 11:15–17.

  3. Select the discussion questions and enrichment activities that will involve the children and best help them achieve the purpose of the lesson.

  4. Materials needed:

    1. A Bible or a New Testament for each child.

    2. The following wordstrips:

      We can show love and respect for Heavenly Father and Jesus by:

      Our reverence in Primary and sacrament meeting.

      The language we use when we pray.

      The way we dress.

      The way we act.

      The way we speak.

    3. Picture 7-9, Jesus Cleansing the Temple (Gospel Art Picture Kit 224; 62163).

Suggested Lesson Development

Invite a child to give the opening prayer.

Attention Activity

Draw a horizontal line across the chalkboard. Write RESPECT above the line and DISRESPECT below. Ask the children to pretend a friend is coming to their home. Tell them you are going to draw a “respect line” on the chalkboard. Mention things the friend does (see below), and have the class decide if the friend is showing respect or disrespect for you and your home. Draw a continuous line, intersecting the horizontal line on the chalkboard, moving up for situations showing respect and down for ones showing disrespect. Use situations such as the following:

The friend:

  • Waits quietly outside until invited in.

  • Walks in with muddy feet.

  • Thanks you for the invitation to come.

  • Shouts and yells loudly in your home.

  • Greets your parents politely.

  • Demands something to eat.

  • Treats your possessions carefully.

  • Ignores your parents when they speak to him or her.

  • Invites you to visit at his or her house.

Your “respect line” may look something like this:

respect line

Have the children answer the following questions to themselves:

  • When you visit a friend’s home, what does your “respect line” look like?

  • When you come to Primary, what does your “respect line” look like?

  • What does your “respect line” look like when you are in your own home?

Scripture Account

Teach the accounts of Jesus cleansing the temple in Jerusalem. The account of the first cleansing is in John 2:13–16. The second account, nearly three years later and just a few days before his crucifixion, is in Matthew 21:12–14 and Luke 19:45–48. (For suggested ways to teach the scripture accounts, see “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.) As you teach these accounts, have the children ask themselves how Jesus feels about Heavenly Father and the temple. Help the children understand that this temple was a sacred place, just as our temples and church meetinghouses are today, and Jesus wants us to respect these holy places.

Discussion and Application Questions

Study the following questions and the scripture references as you prepare your lesson. Use the questions you feel will best help the children understand the scriptures and apply the principles in their lives. Reading the references with the children in class will help them gain insights into the scriptures.

  • What did Jesus find some people doing in the temple? (John 2:14.)

  • Why did Jesus drive the sellers and money changers out of the temple? What did Jesus say to them? (John 2:16; Matthew 21:13; Luke 19:45–46.)

  • What did Jesus do in the temple after he had driven them out? (Matthew 21:14; Luke 19:47.)

  • Why do you think it is important to be reverent in holy places such as homes, temples, and church buildings? For whom are we showing respect?

Discuss the importance of being reverent in places that have been dedicated to the Lord. Help the children understand that reverence is profound honor and love.

  • Who was Jesus showing love and respect for when he cast out the money changers? (John 2:16.) Why did he do this?

  • How can we show love and respect for Heavenly Father and Jesus at church? at home? at school? at play?

Display the wordstrips one at a time. Discuss with the children ways to show love and respect for Heavenly Father and Jesus. Include the following ideas:

  • When we are reverent during the sacrament, we are showing love and respect for Jesus and the covenants we make with Heavenly Father.

  • When we listen to the talks in sacrament meeting and are reverent in Primary, we learn more about Heavenly Father and Jesus and what they want us to do.

  • When we pray appropriately, we are showing respect for Heavenly Father.

  • When we dress modestly, we are showing that we respect our bodies as sacred creations of Heavenly Father.

  • When we act the way Heavenly Father and Jesus want us to, we are showing that we believe in them and that it is important to us to do what they have asked us to do.

  • When we use the name of the Lord reverently and do not misuse it, we are showing others that we respect and love him.

Enrichment Activities

You may use one or more of the following activities any time during the lesson or as a review, summary, or challenge.

  1. Have the children read and memorize Exodus 20:7. Relate and discuss the following incident told by President Spencer W. Kimball, and help the children make the commitment to keep this important commandment.

    “In the hospital one day I was wheeled out of the operating room by an attendant who stumbled, and there issued from his angry lips vicious cursing [swearing] with a combination of the names of the Savior. Even half-conscious, I recoiled and implored: ‘Please! Please! That is my Lord whose name you revile.’ There was a deathly silence, then a subdued voice whispered: ‘I am sorry.’ He had forgotten for the moment that the Lord had forcefully commanded all his people, ‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain’ (Exodus 20:7)” (“President Kimball Speaks Out on Profanity,” Ensign, Feb. 1981, p. 3).

  2. Get several pictures of temples and church buildings. Write the names of the temples and buildings on separate pieces of paper, and ask the children to match the names with the pictures. Have them match names and pictures a second time while you explain how these buildings help the Lord further his work here on earth.

  3. Describe the feelings you have had when you have attended the temple, or invite someone in your ward or branch to share his or her feelings about the temple. Help the children realize how sacred the temple is and that those who attend can feel close to the Lord there. Discuss what the children can do in their lives to be worthy to enter the temple.

  4. Give the children each a piece of paper and a pencil. Have them write down specific ways they can show love, honor, and respect for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ during the coming week. Ask them to keep the list where they can see it often.

  5. Draw another “respect line” on the chalkboard as the children give examples of actions that show respect or disrespect in the church building.


Refer to the “respect line” again and tell the children that they need to have a “respect line” for their relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Challenge the children to keep their line up by showing love and respect for Heavenly Father and Jesus in all they do.



Express your reverent feelings about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and your desire to show love, honor, and respect for them by the way you live.

Suggested Home Reading

Suggest that the children study Matthew 21:12–14 at home as a review of this lesson.

Invite a child to give the closing prayer.