Summary: 7th sermon in a John series
What gets you worked up? What gets you excited? Some people get excited over ballgames. Some get worked up over political issues. Others are energized by work. I know some who get excited over things such as cars or trucks. Such individuals work diligently to keep their car or truck washed and waxed at all times. They want it to be detailed properly. They want it to look good. They want it to smell good. And they get agitated when it does not.
* New car, parking in the back of Wal-Mart parking lot (not a worry now, I own a mini-van and there is nothing sporty about a mini-van). But I used to be one of those who got worked up when my vehicle was dirty.
* Cantaloupe juice story—my brother got “worked up” b/c I was transporting cantaloupes in the back of his 78 Celica.
What gets you excited or agitated or worked up?
In our text today, we read about an occasion when Jesus got worked up. He got agitated and angry. That’s right, Jesus got angry. Now his anger was not a sinful anger b/c He was angry for the right reason. He had a legitimate reason to be agitated. Let’s read about this incident together.
After the water into wine miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee and a brief visit to Capernaum, Jesus and his disciples went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
The Jewish Passover celebration commemorated the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, when the death angel passed over every home where the blood of a lamb was applied to the doorposts of the home (Ex. 12-13). Passover reminded the Jews of the time the angel “passed over.” It also initiated the Feast of Unleavened Bread, so the entire celebration lasted over a week.
Passover attendance for Jewish males 12 and over was compulsory. On the 10th day of Nisan (March/April), a lamb w/o blemish was taken to Jerusalem and on the 14th day, between 3-6 pm, the sacrificial lamb was killed. Passover was a sacred holiday for the Jewish people. It represented the very essence of who they were—God’s chosen people.
It is difficult to imagine how Jesus must have felt when He approaches the temple and finds it filled with merchants and money-changers. You might ask, “What were they doing there?” Multitudes of people flocked to Jerusalem during Passover. People from all over the world traveled to the holy city for the celebration.
The purpose of these merchants and money-changers was two-fold. One, many of the people did not bring animals with them for sacrifice, so they purchased animals there in Jerusalem. Second, all Jewish males and proselytes were required to pay a half-shekel temple tax in the coinage of the temple (taxes were prevalent even in the first century, the worship tax). Furthermore, foreign monies bearing the image of a pagan deity or ruler were unacceptable; therefore, the money changers would exchange their coinage for a small fee.
In days gone by, these activities took place outside of the temple, but now the merchants, animals, and exchangers have moved inside the temple courts. The sacredness of the temple has been bartered for profit and convenience. And as Jesus approached the temple, he becomes angry at what the temple has become.