Summary: Jesus removing the obstacles that stop people meeting with God. (PowerPoint slides for this talk available on request - email:

The Disturbance

Reading: John chapter 2 verses 13-25.



• IKEA- Named after the founder of the company; and a place in Sweden;

• Tesco is similar named after TES – T.E.Stockwell & Co – Jack Cohen.


• Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

• SCUBA – Self-Contained Under water Breathing Apparatus;

• Or: Swimmer Comes Up Barely Alive!


• Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space.

• IBM – International Business Machines Corporation

• Or: I Blame Microsoft

• Good old BOGOF – beloved of those who love a bargain;

• Buy One Get One Free

• NIMBY – is a favorite of those protesting against a new road, or a mobile phone receiver;

• Not In My Back Yard.


• Frequently Outwitted By Inanimate Objects.

Question: Why I am I giving you this riveting information?

Answer: You may have been familiar with the acronym but not the meaning behind it

• How true that particular situation was for the religion in Jesus day.

• The new the ritual – but they had long forgotten the meaning and reality behind it!

(1). The zeal of Jesus (vs 14-17).

• If you asked the average person to describe Jesus in a few words,

• You might get these types of responses:

• “A good man,”

• “A kind man,”

• “A loving man,”

• “A forgiving man”.

• Very few (if at all any) will say; “an angry man!”

• We have all grown up with the image ‘Gentle Jesus meek and mild.’

• And though it is fair to say Jesus did not often get angry;

• He did on a number of occasions (mainly in a misuse of religious context);

• Show a righteous anger.


(1). The ceremony (Vs 13):

“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem”.

• According to Old Testament Law (Deuteronomy 16:16)

• Each Jewish man who lived within fifteen miles of Jerusalem;

• Was required to attend three annual feasts at the Holy City: (Passover, Pentecost, & Tabernacles).

• Now that was not a burden or a problem,

• Every Jew dreamed of celebrating at least one Passover in Jerusalem.

• Quote: Last line of the Passover benediction: “Next year in Jerusalem”.

Passover was the greatest of all Jewish feasts:

• It goes back to the time when Moses and the Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt.

• God gave them instructions to follow,

• They were to kill a lamb and eat it at a family meal,

• They also had to paint the door-frame their houses, with the blood of the lamb.

• And on the when the angel of death came,

• He would pass-over every house that had followed their instructions.

• But the first born throughout the land would be killed,

• In every house that did not obey the instructions.

• This incident is what broke Pharaoh’s stubbornness and pride,

• And allowed the Hebrews to leave slavery in Egypt, and experience freedom.

The Jews celebrate Passover:

• On the 15th Nissan.

• About the middle of our April.


• We mark our history B.C. (Before Christ);

• And A.D. (Latin: Anno Domini – In the year of our Lord).

• Because the death & resurrection of Jesus Christ was the greatest event in history;

• Time itself has been spit around him!

The Jews were told a similar thing regarding Passover:

• So important was the Passover redemption from Egypt;

• It too would change Israel’s reckoning of time.

So at Passover everyone who could headed for Jerusalem:

• At the time of Jesus there was about 600,000 residents living in Jerusalem:

• Yet at Passover pilgrims came from all over the world,

• Swelling the city to four times its normal size.

Quote: William Barcley:

“Astonishing as it may sound, there were at times two & quarter million Jewish males in the city of Jerusalem at Passover, for that week of celebration”.

(2). The Corruption (vs 14).

• Whenever you get a crowd;

• You will always find people to exploit the situation.

• i.e. English teams in the Champion League finals in Italy;

• All the price of flights to Rome went up! (e.g. same with school holidays)

• i.e. Go to any tourist spot;

• Drinks & burgers etc will always be charged at a high rate (principle you have no choice)

• Crowds of people are always a business opportunity for someone;

• It is true today and it was true in New Testament times.


• The story of M.P.’s and their expenses has dominated the news;

• Many M.P.’s trying to justify their actions.

• One commented on the news this week;

• “We have not broken the rules, we have just bent them!”

Sadly: at the time of Jesus corruption had come into the priesthood:

• The majority of religious leaders spelt Passover:

• RIP OFF!!!

• Passover was to a corrupt religious leader;

• What water was to a thirsty man!

There was two ways in which the religious leaders had devised to fleece the people:


• By law:

• Every Jew over nineteen was required to pay a temple tax,

• The reason they paid the tax was so that;

• Temple sacrifices and the Temple ritual could be carried out day by day.

• Nothing wrong with that,

• Common sense tells you somebody has to pay if you want these things

• Ill: Same as Churches have an offering or a collection box at the back.

• Someone has to pay for the lights, heating, upkeep of the place etc.

The corruption/rip off came:

• Because most of those who attended Passover were from outside Jerusalem,

• Many came with foreign currency.

• So the religious authorities set up money changing booths,

• Which was a very nice practical thoughtful way, of helping them.

The corruption came in the form of exorbitant exchange rates:

• Greed soon turned a useful agency into a business opportunity.

• Greed would fleece the pilgrims of their hard earned cash!

• And not only did they pick on the foreign travelers;

• They also invented a way to rip off the locals.

• Ill: The authorities decided that the Temple Tax could only be paid in Galilean;

• Or sanctuary shekels hence, so they too needed to use the money changers.

Quote: William Barcley:

• In the Temple courts sat the money changers:

• If there trade had been straight forward,

• They would have been fulfilling an honest and a necessary purpose:

• But what they did was to charge one ma’ah,

• A ‘ma’ah’ was a coin worth about 1 pence, for every half-shekel they changed,

• And to charge another ma’ah,

• On every half-shekel of change they had to give if a larger coin was tendered.


So if a man came with a coin the value of which was two shekels:

• He had to pay 1 pence to get it changed,

• And another 3 pence to get his change of three shekels.

• The money changers made 4 pence out of him,

• And that for the average man was one days wage.


Arthur Daley & Del Boy would have been proud of them!!!


• In days before mechanical transportation;

• No-one would take an animal more than 20 miles,

• So most travelers would wait until they got to Jerusalem;

• And buy an animal for sacrifice once they had arrived.

So the religious leaders also saw this as a money making opportunity:

• The Temple was spit into different zones, different courtyards;

• Into the outer courtyard of the Temple (Court of Gentiles).

• They allowed animal pens for sheep, oxen, pigeons and doves,

• Alongside tables for money changing.

• Consequently it was referred to as the Bazaar of Annas (High Priest).

• That was the colloquialism for it.


• Of course some people tried to beat the system;

• By buying a cheaper animal outside the temple:

• But then there was another problem they had to overcome,

• All animals had to be inspected,

• Now you will be surprised (NOT!),

• That a fee was charged to inspect all animals brought to the temple for sacrifice.

• And surprise, surprise, the inspectors found animals purchased outside the Temple,

• Were blemished in some way, and so disqualified it as a legitimate offering.

• This forced the out-of-town traveler to purchase an “approved” animal,

• At the temple for often ten to twenty times the fair market value.

Quote: William Barcley:

“A pair of doves could cost as little as 4 pence outside the Temple,

And as much as 7 5pence inside.”

Once again for the religious leaders:

• “It was a nice little earner”.

• Or to be more accurate: “A great big earner”.


• Marcus Licinius Crassus was a Roman general;

• In 54b.c.he invaded & captured Jerusalem and the Temple.

• Historian William Barcley says he:

“Took two and a half million pounds from the Temple treasury without coming near to exhausting it”.

Perhaps we can now appreciate what so enraged Jesus:

• These Passover Pilgrims who could ill afford it,

• Were being fleeced at an extortionate rate by the money-changers:

• It was a rampant and shameless social injustice,

• And what made it even worse it was being done in the name of religion!

(3). The cleansing (Vs 14-16):

Verse 14:

“In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.”


• If you went to Tesco’s you would not expect to find people;

• Sat in groups reading the Bible and praying.


• If you went to a Library you would not expect to find people;

• Dressed in a kit and playing football.


• If you went to a restaurant you would not expect to find people;

• Lying on mats and doing Pilates or Yoga.

When Jesus went to the temple courtyard, the scene infuriated Him.

• He expected to find people worshipping God,

• Instead all he found was people being conned.

• Instead of praise and prayers to God,

• There was the sound of profit and commerce.

• Instead of finding the glory of God,

• Jesus found the corruption of the human heart.

Verse 15: So he cleansed the temple.

“So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here!

How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

Quote: Moffett: “My Father’s house is not to be turned into a shop”.


(1). God’s house was being desecrated.

• Truth and honesty had been replaced by greed and corruption.

• & those priests who should be helping people come close to God were alienating them.

(2). To show that the whole paraphernalia of animal sacrifice was now irrelevant:

• A number of prophets dad stated this: Isaiah, Jeremiah. Hosea.

• Declaring that God had no pleasure in them

Quote: 2 examples:

• Hosea 5 verse 6:

• “With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him”.

• Hosea 8 verse 13:

• “They love sacrifice; the sacrifice flesh and eat it, but the Lord has no delight in them”.

(3rd reason). Is found in mark’s account:

• Mark 11 verse 27:

• “house of prayer for all nations”

‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’

But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’

If you were a visitor to Herod’s Temple at the time of Jesus:

• You would have a found a building,

• That consisted of a series of rectangular courts within each other:

• The large outside rectangular court was the Court of the Gentiles,

• Which measured 450 meters by 250 meters.

• That is as far as you and I could enter,

• Beyond that court it was Jews only.

• Any Gentile (non-Jew) entered on pain of death.

• So the only place you and I could go to worship was the Court of the Gentiles.

This Court was supposed to be ‘an open window’ for all the other nations:

• To come and experience the living God,

• This was the one place where the Jews should have been meeting the Gentiles,

• Instead any Gentile searching for truth would not find it there,

• All they found were the religious merchants trading in a market place.

(4). The Clue (vs 17):

“His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

• This quote is taken from Psalm 69 verse 9:

• Psalm 69 is what we refer to as a messianic Psalm.

• That is the subject matter of the Psalm is connected with the Messiah/Christ.

• So for the disciples this was another clue as to the identity of Jesus.

Jesus had to act in the way he did because: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

• Jesus would not have “His Father’s House”;

• Polluted by the religious leaders money-making enterprises:

• The condition of the temple,

• Was a vivid indication of the spiritual condition of the nation.

• Their religion was a dull routine, presided over by worldly minded men,

• Whose main desire was to exercise authority and get rich.

• As the wine run out at the wedding feast,

• Now the glory had departed from the temple.

(e). The confrontation (vs 18-22):

Unlike the disciples who gained insight from this incident:

• The religious leaders were not so perceptive

• They want some authoritative sign


“They demanded the visible, at the expense of the ethical”.

The religious leaders ask Jesus to show them his source of His authority.

• This request was wicked.

• It was the result of unwillingness to admit guilt,

• The authorities should have been ashamed of their greed and corruption,

• Ashamed of the religious charade that was taking place,

• But instead of admitting guilt and repenting,

• They confront Jesus.

Verse 18:

18Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

20The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken

Jesus used the image, the picture of the temple to put across truth:

• An illustration which was be understood in two ways.

• (a). Religious leaders - physical building.

• (b). His Disciples - would later understand he meant his body.

• Throughout the Gospel of John, you will find people misunderstanding spiritual truth,

• And interpreting in material or physical terms.

Ill: ill: ill:

Nicodemus “born again”. Samaritan woman “Water”. Crowds “Bread”.

(chapter 3 verse 4). (chapter 4 verse 11). (chapter 6 verse 52).

Verse 20:

• The religious leaders dwell on the building, the Temple.

• Herod’s temple was started in 19b.c.

• Forty six years ago it was started,

• And it would take another twenty years before it was finished.

In a tone of utter content, they say to Jesus;

“It took us 46 years, and we are still not finished;

but you think that you can re-erect it in just 3 days”.

• The religious leaders knew that no-one person,

• Could “raise it up” rebuild the Temple in three days.

This statement was, of course, a prediction by Jesus:

• Of his own death and resurrection;

• I wonder if Jesus tapped his chest as he said those words “this Temple”.

Note: Those words of Jesus would be remembered later-on, on four occasions:

• His disciples remembered it after He was raised from the dead.

• His enemies also remembered it and used it at His trial (Matt 26:59-61);

• Some people mocked Him with it, when He was dying on the cross (Matt. 27:40).

• The religious leaders also quoted it against Stephen (1st martyr in Acts 6: 14)

The temple was an important element of the Jewish faith:

• For in it God was supposed to dwell.

• All of the ceremonies and sacrifices of the Jewish religion centered in the temple.

• When Jesus suggested that their precious building would be destroyed,

• Their angry reaction was predictable.

• After all if His body is the temple,

• Then the Jewish temple would be needed no more.

• Note: in this cryptic statement,

• Jesus actually predicted the end of the Jewish religious system.

John then writes the following postscript.

(F). The conclusion (vs 23-25):

“Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.

24But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man”.

While in Jerusalem for the Passover:

• Jesus performed miracles that are not given in detail in any of the Gospels.

• John deliberately calls the miracles of Jesus ‘signs’:

• A Signs gives direction.

• Pointing out needed truth.

Ill: ill:

Exit (way out). Motorway (turn left for your destination).

• Because of the miracles, many people professed to believe in Him;

• But Jesus did not accept their profession.

• Miracles may help someone start on the road of faith;

• But they do not sustain faith.

Verse 24:

24But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man”.

Quote Bruce Milne explains:

“Jesus of all people will not be misled by outward professions of loyalty which do not involve true repentance and heart commitment. The claim to this knowledge of the human heart echoes Jeremiah 17:10, and is an implicit indicator of deity.”

Quote: Jeremiah 17:10

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind,

to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.

Jesus did not accept human testimony.

• Question: Why?

• Answer: because, being God, He knew what was in each person’s heart and mind.

• He knew that the voice that shouted his praise today,

• Would on another day be shouting “Crucify…”

• He knew that the hand that wanted to pat him on the back,

• Would soon be a clenched fist, waved in defiance!

Verse 23:

• The word translated “believed” in verse 23,

• And the word translated “entrust” in v.24 are the same Greek word.

• These people believed in Jesus,

• But He did not believe in them!

Verse 24: “He knew what was in man”.

Is a statement that is proved several limes in John’s Gospel:

• Jesus knew the character of Simon (1:42).

• He knew what Nathaniel was like (1:4610,

• He told the Samaritan woman “all things” that she ever done (429).

• He knew that the Jewish leaders did not have God’s love in their hearts (5:42),

• He knew that one of His disciples was not truly a believer (6:64).

• He saw the repentance in the hearts of the adulteress (8:10-11)

• He knew the murder in the hearts of His enemies (8:40).

• Several times in the Upper Room message,

• Jesus revealed to His disciples their own inner feelings and questions.