Summary: The 8th sermon in our series from John's Gospel. In this sermon we look at Jesus cleansing the temple, and how that applies to us still today
Jesus Cleans House (Gospel of John Pt. 8)
Text: John 2:13 – 25
We’ve been studying the Gospel of John the last few weeks, and if you remember from last week, we looked at the beginning of chapter two, where Jesus performed His first sign at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. And one thing we’ll notice as we go through this Gospel account is that John does talk quite a bit about the miracles of Jesus… not quite as much as Mark’s Gospel, but still, John covers quite a few of them. And you’ll notice that John calls them signs.
Now what is a sign? Well; in a nut-shell, a sign is something that conveys information that we are expected to act on. Think about it… if you see a red, octagon shaped sign with the word “STOP” on it – it’s not there for you to admire. It’s telling you that you are approaching a part of the road where it would be beneficial and safe to stop your car. If you’re headed to Woodward, and you see that sign that says, “Woodward 12 miles”, that’s telling you how far you have to go until you reach your destination. So that’s what a sign is – something that conveys information, that we are expected to act on. They warn us of things. They point to things. They give direction. And that’s what these signs of Jesus are doing… they are pointing us to something – or rather; SOMEONE.
They are directing us to the reality that Jesus is God’s Son.
So let’s keep that in mind as we go through John’s Gospel… And let’s go ahead and do that. If you have your Bible, open it up to John 2:12 – 25 and let’s read today’s text (READ).
Now here’s something else that’s helpful as you’re studying John… John doesn’t write his Gospel account in chronological order. He focuses on events, not the time line. So this instance of Jesus cleansing the temple, could be during the crucifixion week, or it could be a separate event… some scholars think that Jesus did this twice. I tend to look at it as one event, and I’ll tell you why.
Not too long ago, my dad and my uncle went to an Episcopalian church. This particular church was holding an event where they had the pastor of that church, a Catholic Priest, and a Muslim Imam all speak to the crowd. And these three leaders all stood up and basically said, “Since we all worship the same God, we should all just get along.” After this they had a Q&A session where the people who were at the event we allowed to ask questions… and so… I think it was my uncle… He took the opportunity to ask the Imam if Allah had a son? The Imam was red faced as he answered, and he said, “No.” They asked him if Allah saved a single sinner by grace? Again the Imam had to answer no. They asked him if he supported Shiara Law, and he tried to dodge the question. Basically; they exposed this false teaching that Allah and Yahweh are one and the same God. They aren’t. Needless to say, they’ll probably never be allowed back in that church again. Well for the same reason, I believe that this event that we just read about, was the one and only time Jesus did this. And it took place during the last week He was physically on earth, and its probably part of what led to His crucifixion.
So it’s Passover – the celebration of the Jewish people where they remembered God delivering them from Egypt. It was supposed to be a memorial feast, kind of like when we do Communion… which we’ll be taking in a couple of weeks… but it had become a money making sham. The way it worked was that every adult male Jew was required to pay an annual temple tax that would about the equivalent of two-days wages. But the thing was, everyone had Roman money. It had the image of the emperor on it… but the priests said, “That money is unclean, and it can’t be accepted as payment for the temple.” So there were money changers there. And these money changers who worked for the priests would exchange the Roman money for temple money. There were a couple of problems with this… first of all, the “Temple money” couldn’t be spent anywhere but the Temple… secondly; they charged an exchange rate, that was about the same as one-days wage… So in order to pay the annual Temple Tax… it was actually going to cost you about three-days wages, instead of two. Like I said, it was a shame. It was horribly dishonest, and really… when you think about it… the whole thing was wicked.