Summary: A sermon series on the Gospel of John.
Jesus Still Cleans Temples
Scripture: John 2:12-22
My messes – church, elementary – blame=me. The worse the case the less hope I have. In our text today – Christ faced a horrible mess. Instead of running from it like I might be inclined to do – Christ addressed the problem and got rid of it – promptly. What we will learn is that Christ draws instruction to a much greater cleansing of temples to come – that still exists today – Jesus Still Cleans Temples. (Read John 2:12-22)
IMPORTANT NOTE: John did not include this as a justification for lashing out when you are angry. I know we would all like it too…Jesus did not say he was angry. Note also John did not ever comment that Jesus was angry. That’s not what this story is about. This story is about the nature of Christ: what He came to accomplish.
I. Jesus Addresses the Problem (vv. 12-17)
EXPLAIN- 14-16. About a day’s journey from last week’s Cana. Jesus addresses the problem. This group, the Sanhedrin, was permitting and probably controlling for its own profits, a traffic of sacrificial animals and money changing. This sort of activity transformed God’s Holy Temple into the equivalent of a Jewish WalMart.
It is obvious that Jesus was displeased with this and so he fashioned a scourge out of the ropes lying about the place. With this whip he drove the men (them) and the animals out of the temple area and upset the tables of the money changers, sending their coins ringing here and there on the pavement.
The Lord had come suddenly to his Temple and had cleansed it. A deeper lesson than the removal of corruption may have been intended by this expulsion of sacrificial animals, even the anticipation of the day when the Temple and its sacrifices would be gone and the final sacrifice of the Lamb of God be achieved.
ILLUS- There’s an Ozark story about a hound sitting in a country store and howling as hounds do. In comes a stranger who says to the storekeeper, "What’s the matter with the dog?" "He’s sitting on a cocklebur." "Why doesn’t he get off?" "He’d rather holler."
APPLY- How often in our own lives do we avoid the real issues in light of what’s easier or more comfortable? Are we sometimes like that old hound and just don’t want to be bothered with the real solution? Note that Christ does what needs to be done. Our model needs to be the same. Despite it not always being the most fun thing to do – sometimes we must step up and do what is right. Sometimes we have to address the problem.
II. Reactions to Jesus’ Cleaning the Temple (vv. 18-20)
EXPLAIN- The Jewish leaders demand to see a sign to prove His authority. Jesus always resisted these demands and does so here by pointing to the future. It is very unlikely that the Jews would do so (for it had taken them 46 years to build.
ILLUS. Army Law: An order that can be misunderstood will be misunderstood.
APPLY- As was often the case, Jesus’ Jewish audience did not comprehend the magnitude of His message. How confusing for them to misunderstand so clear a message.
III. Jesus came to Clean our Hearts (vv. 21-22)
EXPLAIN- We know Christ was speaking figuratively – later explained in v. 21 – that the Temple he speaks of is his body and the raising of the temple – his resurrection on the third day. It’s interesting that later the disciples remember this and can have faith in Jesus’ resurrection.
And in Jesus body = 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
APPLY- One of John’s major purposes was to emphasize: the legal system has ended, and “grace and truth” have come through Jesus Christ. He is the new sacrifice (John 1:29) and the new temple (John 2:19). John will tell us later, that the new worship will depend on inward integrity, not outward geography (John 4:19–24). Jesus STILL CLEANS TEMPLES – But now as he said in this scripture today – he cleanses the temple – your body – of the sin! He fashions a whip and strikes it right out – carries it far from you – to protect you and clean you.