Summary: The custodians of Temple worship were exploiting true worshippers coming to God. As custodians of the gospel we need to make sure we don’t do the same thing
John 2:13-22 - Exploiting the Message of Salvation
A few years ago as we were leading up to the new millennium, I watched in disbelief as a famous television evangelist made the following statement to the thousands who packed the auditorium in front of him
„X ¡§The Lord has told me it is only those who give an offering to the Lord today who will avoid the curses of the new Millennium¡¨
„X He then went on to list the curses that were going to befall our nations and to repeat his claim that the only way to avoid these curses was to give a generous offering
„X It was one of the most blatant and unashamed misuses of the gospel I have ever seen, all with the intent to extract money from gullible and most likely sincere followers of Jesus Christ
„X Today our section of scripture in John 2:13-22 is another story of exploitation where once again, sincere worshipers of God became victims of shameless greed
Background to the Story ¡V Jesus driving the moneychangers from the Temple
„X John¡¦s purpose in his gospel is to prove conclusively that Jesus is the Son of God and all who believe in Him will have eternal life
„X There is a common theme which runs through Chapters 2 through 4 and that is a replacement of the old with the new
„X Wedding Supper in Cana - wine in place of water (2:1-11)
„X Drives money changers out of the temple - a new temple (2:14-19),
„X The conversation with Nicodemus - a new birth (3:1-21),
„X Samaritan woman at the well - a new source of water (Living) (4:7-15)
„X and new worship (In Spirit and in Truth) (4:16-26).
„X So we see this theme of the new replacing the old
John 2:13. When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
„X the timing is important to our story. It was the time of the ¡§Jewish¡¨ Passover
„X The gospel of John records the ministry of Jesus within the context of three Passover seasons Chapters 2, 6, 11
„X This is significant and we will come back to it later
14. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.
„X Overhead with Temple Layout
„X The temple precincts were made up of four courtyards that surrounded the temple building, each decreasing in their importance to the Jewish mind.
„X First, there was the Court of the Priests. Only the priests were allowed to enter this court
„X Second, there was the Court of the Israelites. This was a huge courtyard where Jewish worshippers met together for joint services on the great feast days.
„X It was also where worshippers handed over their sacrifices to the priests.
„X Third, there was the Court of the Women. Women were usually limited to this area except for joint worship with men on the Great Feast Days or to make a sacrifice
„X Last was the Court of the Gentiles. It surrounded all the other courtyards, and was the place of worship for all Gentile converts to Judaism.
„X Notice it was also the furthest removed from the Holy of Holies, which represented God¡¦s presence
„X A high wall separated the Court of the Gentiles from the other courts, so this was the closest they could come to God¡¦s presence
„X There were even signs hung threatening death to any Gentile who went beyond their own courtyard (Museum in Istanbul has an original)
„X The whole temple prescient covered approximately 35 acres
„X So this is the scene as Jesus enters this Court of the Gentiles
Let me ask you, what is your concept of a temple? What would you expect to find at a temple? What kind of activities?
„X Place to worship, prayers, adoration
„X Place to bring offerings ¡V sacrifices, money
„X Place to meet God ¡V to experience his presence, his grace, his reassurance
„X Is this what Jesus finds?
14. In the temple courts he found men 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 area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!" 17His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me.¡¨
„X So instead of finding a place of worship, where people can go to meet God, Jesus finds a circus
„X And we see a side of Jesus we didn¡¦t learn about in Sunday School and they were lucky He only used his physical power against them