Summary: John 2:15 So [Jesus] made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
Come and See His Passion
John 2:15 So [Jesus] made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
This is familiar but stunning - Jesus turning over tables! Vs 17 “His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Jesus was consumed with zeal / passion for one thing only: the mission of His Father to save the world. His teachings and sacrifice at the cross as well as resurrection were at the center of that passion. By nature, he would be at odds with the religious leaders of his day - as they reject him, but cannot stop him.
We are in a series called Come and See Jesus. Last week: Come and See His Power … today Come and See His Passion! What led Jesus to such a demonstration at the temple? What can we learn from this episode that all four gospels record?
It takes place at Passover. Josephus estimated that the crowd in Jerusalem swelled to 3 million people. Passover is the annual festival of remembrance of the night in Exodus when God instructed the children of Israel to place blood on the doorpost of their homes to avoid the punishment that would come to all of Egypt. Passover is a vivid reminder of God’s love for His people, His desire that they live by faith, and the coming rescue from ungodliness and pain of this world. It’s a reminder of His power, His love, His Sovereignty, His grace! Moses said they should always teach their children what the Passover was about.
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.
15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”
17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me."
18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”
21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
22 After 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.
23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name.
24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people.
25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
Jesus chose this moment to demonstrate his passion for His Father’s presence and mission. I see at least three reasons for his zealous actions on this day!
1. Four Reasons For the Prophetic Protest of Jesus
A Prophetic Move of Declaration.
Jesus’ actions should not be seen as originating from a hot temper, unthinking reaction, nor an attempt at vengeance. Jesus’ anger was righteous, and came from his passion for God’s Kingdom that was being abused. Jesus’ actions were prophetic, predicted by both Malachi and the author of Psalm 69. Jesus’ actions were a protest - this was nothing like what His Father had planned for the temple - and it abused the very purpose of the temple.
A Passion for the Poor.
The priesthood at this time is corrupt; the temple tax had been polluted by the priest’s greed. The Law required the tax to be paid in shekels, so currency had to be exchanged (at a high rate). Sacrificial animals were for sale at exorbitant charges. The money-making potential of the temple was staggering. Jesus had witnessed this each year as he and His family visited the temple. It had become a shrine to greed and a sanctuary for thieves . (Swindoll). This, of course, was of greatest disadvantage to the poor.
The Corruption of the Jewish Leaders.
They wanted to see a sign - but actually Jesus was not interested in performing miracles for them. He knew they were not receptive, they were not going to believe. He did, however, provide an answer that they could not perceive. In saying he would destroy the temple, he was pointing to Himself as the savior, the presence of God, not a building.