Summary: A Religious Cleansing Series: Conversations with Jesus Brad Bailey - February 25, 2018
A Religious Cleansing
Series: Conversations with Jesus
Brad Bailey - February 25, 2018
How many like to be confronted? …like it when someone confronts you about something they see in your life? (No hands)
How many believe that such confrontation can be healthy and even loving? (Most hands went up)
Good…because today I want to invite us to be confronted by Jesus.
We are continuing our series… “Conversations with Jesus”…
These first weeks have been marked by the launch of Jesus’ ministry.
The calling of his first followers…. Then last week as they began their travels… a wedding in which the first sign of his nature unfolded when the wine had run out…. Creating social disgrace… and he turned water… to wine. Now they travel on… and we read…
John 2:12-25 (NLT)
After the wedding he went to Capernaum for a few days with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples. 13 It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14 In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. 15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. 16 Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” 17 Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” 18 But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” 19 “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” 21 But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said. 23 Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. 24 But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. 25 No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.
Rather intense scene…
(We have seen a lot of pictures of Jesus holding a little lamb and surrounded by children… but I don’t recall any Hallmark cards with this image.)
It is a confrontation…what could be understood as a religious cleansing. Recently there has been a wave of every possible physical cleansing…A Juice Cleanse… A Liver Cleanse…A Colon Cleanse…and countless ways to clear or bodies from impurities. Jesus is calling for a cleaning of the soul.
It begins with the context…
John 2:13 (NLT)
It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem.
The Passover was a time of remembering … but also of renewal… of restoration. Of cleansing.
It recalled when God provided a way for His judgment to pass over the Israelites. (God had called on Pharaoh of Egypt to free his people Israel from enslavement… and Pharaoh would not relinquish his control of them…and God’s judgment came and the provision was the blood of a sacrificial lamb.)
God’s instructions included the removal all the leaven from their homes before that first Passover evening.  Over the years this commandment of God had become an integral part of preparing one's home and heart for Passover. In order to be "kosher" for Passover one's home had to be thoroughly cleaned up from top to bottom. What is leaven a type of? It is symbolic of sin. We read of how “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Referring to how sin will spread. (I Cor. 5:6)
So, Jesus is headed to Jerusalem at the time when people would be normally be cleaning up their homes and their lives. They would be doing their best to get rid of any type of physical or spiritual leaven that would be considered unclean or unholy. They were to use this time to wisely to prepare themselves to fully celebrate Passover.
This sets the backdrop of what Jesus is about to do and declare.
He is going to rid the house of God of sin in preparation for the Passover.
John 2:14 (NLT)
In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money.
The scale of activity that is at hand in Jerusalem and the temple is hard to imagine. Some estimate that the permanent population of Jerusalem at that time may have only been about 80 thousand people…but during the Passover festival there were 300 to 500 thousand who came from all the surrounding regions.