Summary: Thru his death (his own destruction – his demolition) Jesus makes way for a new life that belongs to all who believe in him.
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Unless otherwise noted, all scripture is quoted from the New Living Translation of the Bible
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“Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and oxen, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables.” John 2:15-16
"’All right,’ Jesus replied. ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’" John 2:19
What is the common thread running through these verses in John 2? DEMOLITION.
Jesus went into the Temple, drove out the animals, overturned the tables, scattered the money on the ground. Then, not but a few minutes later he begins to talk of the demolition of the Temple – or so people thought – “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
Demolition is the unusual sign of salvation. A few contemporary illustrations --
The pothole, half-paved road that we usually use to take Betsy to school at Pitman has been blocked off. It was a the back street route. Now, we have to get in line with all the other cars. But we noticed on Friday that where the road was blocked off there was a tractor completely tearing the old road out.
It’s going to be repaved – sorta’. You see, it was in such bad shape that they can’t really repave it without first tearing it out. So the demolition of the road is actually a very hopeful sign that soon things will get better.
Not a few of you are undergoing Taco Bell withdrawal. Last month they tore down the Taco Bell on Geer Road. But as you can see, there is a new larger Taco Bell going up in it’s place. And you’ll soon be able to return to your Sunday dinners at the Bell.
The demolition of the old Taco Bell was a sign of something new and improved on the way.
I’m on the management advisory committee at Covenant Village – which is the retirement community that we operate here in Turlock. And we’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about what it’s going to take to get the Village ready for the next wave of retirees.
And frankly, there are going to have to be some major changes in Redwood – which is the main building. Redwood is very nice and very functional for now – but to stay competitive we need to add some amenities – covered pool, more food choices, additional apartments, more parking, more green space, etc.
So it appears that we’re going to have to remodel Redwood. The architect came up with an estimate of $10 million dollars to remodel. However, if we tear down the existing building and start from scratch the total cost –including demolition and construction will only (!) be $8 million.
Sometimes you have to tear something down in order to build it up.
And isn’t that the president’s thinking about Iraq? We’re dismantling a whole nation so that we can rebuild something new. And whether you agree with the president in this particular case or not – that is the plan. We’re tearing something down in order to build something better.
And in a strange – perhaps perverse way the demolition is the sign of salvation. At least that’s how it sounded on Assyria Vision this week. I was watching the broadcast and the television announcer could hardly contain himself – moving back and forth between English and Assyrian – “The liberation of the Iraqi people has begun! The liberation of the Iraqi people has begun!”
He was excited because of the initial missile attack against Saddam Hussein. Demolition to usher in something new and improved – at least that was how he saw it.
And such was the case in our gospel passage this morning. Jesus went in to the Temple with both barrels blazing. So much for the mild, meek, weakly good-natured, nice Jesus that we often imagine.
Jesus had walked down to Jerusalem from Capernaum in the north. He was there with everyone else for the Passover celebration. But when he got to the Temple he apparently became disgusted with what he saw.
The place had become a flea-market with vendors who had set-up shop – probably in the court of the Gentiles. That is the outer portion of the temple – the only place where Gentiles were allowed to worship.
Now, these vendors had a legitimate function. They provided animals so that people could make their sacrifices. But the system had become so corrupt that people had to buy their animals in-house – so that the
temple leaders got a kick-back. “No outside food!”