Summary: Picture # 2 in the series: The 14 Candid Snapshots of the Maturing Christian as found in the Gospel of John. Jesus clenses the temple, which is a candid snapshot of Christ entering into the human heart and cleansing the heart so God can reside.
Picture # 2: Jesus Clears The Temple: John 2:12-25
The clearing, or the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem, is a picture of Christ entering into the human body and cleansing the soul so the body can become a temple of Christ.
The first great cleansing in our lives is to attack the root of all evil, money (I Timothy 6:10).
"Jesus’ Disruptive Ministry"
Isn’t the account written by John, of Jesus cleansing the temple amazing?
We may think of Jesus as a gentle, soft-spoken comforter; confronting the religious establishment with divine wisdom.
But here Jesus appears with His sleeves rolled up and ready for battle.
After making His own whip out of cords of rope, Jesus charged through the heart of the great temple, striking aggressively at the religious system that had become corrupt.
Imagine Jesus opening the large and small pens and cages of sheep, oxen, and doves with one hand, while popping His homemade whip with the other hand.
Imagine Jesus throwing over tables filled with wine, oil, salt, and money used to change the Hebrew shekels into Roman currency.
He overturned tables and poured out the coins of commerce on the floor.
He drove out the moneychangers and the animals from the temple.
All of this happened at the height of the Passover season, in a city filled with people, who had gathered at the great temple in Jerusalem to commemorate God’s mercies.
This account of Jesus’ aggressive behavior doesn’t set too well with our cherished views of Jesus as a teacher, healer, comforter, and gentle shepherd.
Yet, when I look deeply into His message for us, I see clearly that Jesus is far more confrontational that we often imagine.
His work in our world proves to us that He constantly disrupts things in religious establishments as well as on the personal level of individual lives and souls.
Jesus shows us a lot of confrontation in scripture.
For example, in our first picture we studied last week, Jesus used the purification jars to hold wine instead of water at a wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11).
On another occasion, Jesus entered a home to eat with Pharisees, but He refused to wash before dinner (Luke 11:37-54).
Then, before the food was passed around the table, He called His hosts hypocrites, pronounced doom upon them, and left without eating.
Try that the next time you’re invited over to someone’s house for dinner and see if that doesn’t cause a disturbance!
In individual lives, Jesus also caused confrontation.
An affluent tax collector named Levi was coerced into walking away from a lucrative tax business with all of its security, to join and journey with One who had nowhere to lay His head (Mark 2:13-14; Matthew 8:20).
And today, Jesus is still having that same kind of influence upon people’s lives.
Our very presence here today at our church bears witness to some degree of Christ’s disruptive work in our lives.
Career choices and personal goals are often altered and reshaped because of the Great Commission and the call of Christ in our lives.
Family relationships and decisions for obedience and faithfulness are only a few costs of following our Lord Jesus.
So, the cleansing of the temple is really just one more event in Jesus’ disruptive ministry.
At the temple Jesus was disturbing a very settled and solid institution.
The temple was firmly established, and at the center of Jewish religious life.
The people believed that the temple was the place where God in heaven met people on earth.
It was a symbol of God’s relationship with His people, and it served as a constant reminder of God’s claim upon their lives.
The temple took 46 years to build, and tradition surrounded it stretched back to the reigns of King David and his son, King Solomon.
Why, the temple was even established by God’s own plan (I Kings chapters 5-8).
But something was desperately wrong.
It had become something other than what God intended it to be.
It had become corrupt!
You see, while the sacrificial practices were spelled out thoroughly in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers; somewhere along the way, the religious leaders found a way to profit personally in their perversion of God’s commandments.
Therefore, we see that Jesus attacks the root of all evil, money (I Timothy 6:10).
No longer was it necessary for people to raise and bring their own sheep, oxen, and doves all the way to Jerusalem for a personal sacrifice.
No longer was it necessary for people to harvest their own fruit and vegetables, and bring the best they had into the temple as a gift of personal sacrifice for God.
Moneychangers in the temple now made quick cash sales on the spot.
And from the profit the moneychangers made on the sales , they had plenty of money to make change for the people.