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It is Refreshing to See the Zeal of Jesus


Sermon shared by Joel Pankow

March 2003
Summary: how Jesus cleansed the temple and paved the way for our salvation
Denomination: Lutheran
Audience: Believer adults
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opening hymn. If Jim wants grandpa to be remembered for his card playing, then we’ll talk about card playing at his funeral. If the kids want to use Doritos and soda for the Lord’s Supper, then we’ll do it! Never once do people stop and consider, “is this respectful? Is this giving glory and honor to God?” Hardly ever do you see people become angry because of the lack of reverence for God in a worship service! Instead, we often are afraid to speak up for the glory and majesty of God!
Let’s get closer to home. How do you evaluate your worship? After returning home from church on Sunday morning, do you ever find yourself saying, “I didn’t like that service. None of the hymns were my favorites. There was so much baby noise I could hardly concentrate. The pastor’s sermon was way too long. And, my goodness, I wonder whether the organist was wearing mittens”? Who’s at the center of that view of worship? I am. What I think of worship is what counts. That’s the attitude toward worship that Jesus condemned in ancient Jerusalem and still condemns today. Instead of asking, “what’s in it for me?”, it would be better to ask, “did that worship service glorify God? Did it help me to get a stronger hold on God’s grace?” Could it be that Jesus needs to overturn our hearts and set us straight on what is really important? That’s why Jesus was so angry with what was happening in the temple. It wasn’t giving glory to God in GOD’S house.

II. For our salvation

Earlier I painted politicians as being wishy washy. This isn’t always the case. There are occasions where politicians take a very strong and clear stand against something. This isn’t always the case, but sometimes - maybe he is getting paid by a special interest group to have a certain law pass. So he has a secret purpose for doing something - which is then called a “hidden agenda.” Jesus said what he said and did what he did because He had a great zeal for His Father’s honor. But this wasn’t the only reason he lashed out at the money changers and cattle salesmen. Jesus had what we might call a “hidden agenda” in cleaning out the temple. But it wasn’t for a devious or self centered purpose - it was for a saving purpose.
This becomes obvious when we look at what Jesus did. When you begin a new job - you usually try to be on your best behavior. You wouldn’t think of insulting the boss. Your first day in school you wouldn’t have thought of spitting on the carpet. When candidates run for office - the last thing they try to do is insult the voters. Here we see Jesus at the very beginning of his ministry, and he certainly seemed to break all the rules for how to win friends and influence people. Instead of schmoozing the religious leaders of his day - Jesus stepped on their toes. When Jesus chased out the money changers, He was stepping on the religious leaders’ toes - doing something that they should have done. So they demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
By this point in Jesus’ ministry, the Jews should have known what gave Jesus the authority to do this. John the Baptist had been steadily telling the people, “Jesus is the Christ.” If Jesus would have performed some miracle at this point, it would have been like throwing pearls before the swine - they just would have denied the miracle anyway
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