Summary: Jesus has not changed in 2,000 years. He is still passionate about His temple. The temple of God is no longer a building, it is His people. God no longer dwells in a temple made by hands, He lives in us, and His passion, His zeal is the same today as it w
Jesus: the Great Purifier (John 2:12-25)
“I’m Sarah, I’m sixteen; Last night I failed. I prayed for more strength, So why did I yield? He said he loved me, Brought me flowers and all; Then he took me upstairs And caused me to fall.
I feel so ashamed, So dirty inside. He’s taken my heart; Now I want to go hide. I let down my parents, And they trusted me so. Can God forgive me? I need to know.
Oh I see, God can forgive! It says so right here; Jesus died for my sins, So I need not fear. My past is all cleansed; I’m whiter than snow. Yet my sin is still sin; Consequences don’t go. Today I start over, My purity new! I’m God’s little girl, clean through and through!”
The title of today’s message is Jesus: the Great Purifier
1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness. Mal 3:1-3 (NIV)
So this passage tells us tells us who, where and why. Who would come? the Lord. Where would He come? The Temple. Why would He come: to cleanse, to purify and to restore. This passage in Malachi is the prophecy, let’s read about its fulfillment in John 2. As a reminder, last week we saw the miracle of Jesus Christ, turning water into wine, bringing joy to the people, and the Bible says the miracle revealed His glory. Today we see the cleansing work of Jesus, and we see this work reveals His passion.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days. 13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!" 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me." 18 Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" 19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." 20 The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. 23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25 He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man. John 2:12-25 (NIV)
Last week we saw Jesus’ miracle of transformation as He changed water into wine, and this week we see Jesus’ work of purification, as He cleanses the temple of all defilement. So that we might say that in these two stories we have a summary of what Jesus came to this earth to do: He came to transform and purify, to change and to cleanse.
Now in the story we are examining today we see Jesus going to Jerusalem to the Temple to observe the Jewish feast of Passover. He came to the Temple to pray, to read the Scriptures, to worship, but what He found at the temple infuriated Him. He found the temple turned into a marketplace, the Synagogue had become a store where people were exchanging money, and buying and selling, etc.
Now this buying and selling, in and of itself was not wrong. People would come from all over the middle-East in order to celebrate the Passover, and they would come with their different currencies, and they would have to purchase sheep and cattle, or doves if they were poor, in order to make sacrifice. So they would come with the currency of Lebanon, for instance, and had to get it changed into the currency of Jerusalem in order to purchase their sacrificial animals. So they would first exchange their currency and then they would purchase their sacrificial animals. Nothing wrong with this.