Summary: Our nation is into a month where the local church building has gone somewhat dark and we find ourselves preaching to empty pews every Sunday because of this CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC. I am convinced this coronavirus outbreak is possibly the greatest outreach opportunity for the church worldwide.
TITLE: HOW ARE WE GOING TO LOOK WHEN WE COME BACK IN
SCRIPTURE: ST. JOHN 2:13-17
Our nation is now into almost a month and some places longer where the local church building has gone somewhat dark and we find ourselves as Pastors, preaching to empty pews every Sunday because of this CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC. I am, however convinced this coronavirus outbreak is possibly the greatest outreach opportunity for the church worldwide.
• The coronavirus has covered the globe and, thus, brought missions to our own turf
• The church needs to respond to the current situation sensibly and centered around the gospel
Our God is not surprised by a viral outbreak. He is not disinterested in our fears. He Is Our Rock, Our Light, And Our Salvation. This might be a good time to Look Toward Our Psalter Instead Of Our News Feed For Support. As American Christians we are accustomed to Power and Security. Suddenly as the possibility for reversal becomes greater, it is how we respond in times when we feel powerless and vulnerable that may offer the opportunity for growth for us and to witness to other’s we say we long for.
• Jesus told us to let our light shine in a dark world
• And our response in a time like this may be such a time to shine
Just as Jesus was found in our text cleansing the temple and driving out all that was wrong, I believe in one mighty breath of God, He has once again began the process of cleansing the temple by closing down our Churches, our places of Worship. Just as Jesus drove out the moneychangers and overthrew the tables, after He cleaned out the Temple, they did return, and I imagine when they returned they were better. As the Lord is once again cleansing His House, my question for us this morning is – HOW ARE WE GOING TO LOOK WHEN WE COME BACK IN?
I don’t think this narrative found in our text is simply about Jesus getting angry. Jesus got angry - i get angry - it’s ok to get angry. That misses the point. There’s more to this narrative than that. And I don’t think it’s about the animals or the moneychangers being in the temple. Jesus surely had to have known they were there. He grew up as a faithful Jew going to the temple. He didn’t show up this day and say, “Wow! There are animals and moneychangers here. I didn’t know this. This is wrong.”
• The animals and moneychangers had always been there
• That’s how the system worked
• It was business as usual for them to be there
I think Jesus went to the temple that day for one purpose -
• To throw out and overturn business as usual
• There are times when we need the tables of our life overturned and the animals thrown out
• It’s just so easy to fall into the trap of business as usual
There are thousands of reasons and ways in which we fall into business as usual. There’s one thing, however, that I keep coming back to. FORGETFULNESS.
• Business as usual is born of forgetfulness
• We forget that we really are the temple of God’s presence
• We forget that all of creation is the residence of God
• We forget that in whatever direction we might turn, there is the face of God gazing upon us
• And as soon as we forget those things about ourselves, each other, or the world, life becomes business as usual
• And our attendance at Church each week becomes nothing more than business as usual
This text this morning takes place at the Jewish temple which was roughly fifteen stories above the KIDRON VALLEY.
• This place was huge, nearly 500 yards long and 400 yards wide
• The outer court of the Temple was nearly the size of 48 College basketball courts
The temple had become a veritable shopping mall. Pens of Sheep - Goats - Doves - and other animals for sacrifice were everywhere. moneychangers operated several of the tables. And in one sense, these merchants provided a needed service. Worshippers had come from great distances and they were expected to offer animal sacrifices and financial gifts at the Temple.
• And these pilgrims found it -- convenient
• Instead of bringing their sacrifice with them they could just purchase it from someone else for a price
What had started out as a convenience turned into a very profitable money making scheme. The priests and local politicians maintained strict control over franchises in the temple area, and they often demanded a kickback. Once merchants had a corner on the market, they felt free to do as they pleased. Moneychangers would charge high fees to exchange shekels for pagan coins and those who sold sacrificial animals would mark up their prices too. And just in case, someone got the wise idea to set up a competing market elsewhere and undercut the temple sellers, the priests had that covered too.