Summary: A sermon to help give wisdom to know when it’s okay just to be really upset with corruption and injustice.
The first question is what are you doing here tonight? Like why are you here? Honestly. Think about that. For some of you that have gone to church for a long time, you may have not asked that question in a good season. Why are you here? Why do you come? What is your motive? What is it you’re seeking? What is it you desire? What do you want? And why do you go to all of this inconvenience. The second question is what did you bring? What did you bring? “Oh, my gosh. He’s gonna take our money.” Yes, he is (Laughter). Yes, he is. Yes. With that in mind, think through those questions. Why do you come? And what do you bring when you come? And then it’ll all make sense. I’ll tie it in together at the end.
We’re in John Chapter 2, picking up in Verse 12, just continuing through the book. After this, what had happened previously, as you know, Jesus had turned a number of ceremonial washing basins into good wine. It was his first miracle at a wedding banquet. Up to 180 gallons of wine. Okay? So you see this picture where Jesus is making wine at a wedding, and now we see this stark contrast in his response to what’s happening around him. So after this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and disciples. One excursion I’ll take real quick. How many of you were raised Catholic? Anybody like me, raised Catholic? We were told, were we not, that Mary was always a virgin (Laughter)? And they would say, “Oh, wonderful Mary, Mother Mary. She was always a virgin. Isn’t that wonderful, kids?” I was like “Not for Joseph (Laughter). Not for Joseph. No, not for Joseph at all. If that’s true, that’s bad. I don’t see where that’s good and righteous. Joseph’s walking around saying, ‘Thank you, Lord. It’s good. I didn’t mind getting married to a virgin, but being married to a virgin has become cumbersome, burdensome, painful, difficult.’”
I always wondered like how did Joseph – where did Joseph actually go with this? Like “Oh, yeah, sure. No problem. I’ll get married to my wife and never touch her. That’s not a problem.” Here we see that Jesus has brothers. And so you just fill in the gaps. For those of you in public school, it may take you a little time (Laughter). We’ve all had help. We know how that happens. So Mary was not a virgin forever.
“After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and his brothers and his disciples,” his students. “There they stayed for a few days. When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” Big deal here. Passover is the largest celebration of the Jewish people. It is the day where all that are capable come into Jerusalem to the temple.
It is a celebration. As we look through the book of Exodus, God delivered his people from bondage and slavery and death and oppression, gave them freedom so that they could go into the desert and they could worship him. So Passover was that celebration where God’s wrath passed over them, gave them life instead of death, and gave them freedom instead of bondage. Right? He gave them hope instead of despair. And they are celebrating that at the Passover according to the ways that God had established that they celebrate this great feast and this great festival. And so thousands of years later here we come. They’re still celebrating this as a people.
And the way it was is they would all come into Jerusalem and the would come to the temple, and they would come together as a nation to celebrate what God had done. And the reason that Jesus went I think is multiple, but one of them is that if you are a male, able-bodied, over the age of 19 and Jewish that lives within a 15-mile radius of the temple, you are obligated to go to the Passover celebration of the temple. You must go. It is required of you. It’s almost like Muslims making their pilgrimage to Mecca. Even those that lived in faraway lands had a dream and a desire as often as possible, at least once in their lifetime, to make their pilgrimage into Jerusalem at the Passover for the celebration of their redemption and of God’s delivering them from atrocity and from genocide and from injustice.
And so it’s that season. Jesus ultimately celebrates three Passovers, according to John’s Gospel. This is the first. The last would be the Last Supper that we’ll celebrate when we take communion tonight. And so here they go. He’s going down into Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish Passover. One other thing I will say with this too. What they would do in their homes before they would head to the temple is they would cleanse their home of leaven, of yeast, of agents that caused to rise. And throughout scripture, yeast and leavening agents are always symbolic and typified of sin. Sin causes us to be arrogant and proud and puff us up. And so they would cleanse their home of things that would cause leaven and cause things to rise and to puff up. And so their goal was to get all of the sin out of their home and all of the sin out of their lives and then come as pure worshippers to the temple to offer sacrifices for the forgiveness of their sins, all typifying and showing what ultimately Jesus would do.