Summary: Sermon for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, Year B.
John 2: 13 – 22 / Out!
Intro: Emily Post was born in the early 1870’s and died in 1960. During her lifetime she gained a reputation for doing what was the proper and polite thing in nearly every situation. Mrs. Post wrote in her book titled, “Etiquette”, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use!” --- Years ago, the elders of the church had long poles with a feather on the end. If they caught someone sleeping in church, they would tickle their nose with the feather because it was thought to be insensitive and rude to sleep when someone is speaking. HMMMMM! Might we act differently if Jesus was here this morning with his whip?
A. For John the theological significance is more important than the chronological order. As a 21st century Christian, the significance is not easy to catch.
B. VV. 13 – 16 set the story in the context of going to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival of the Passover.
C. VS. 16 – “To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” is an illusion to Zechariah 14: 1 – 21 ”There shall no longer be traders in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day” --- that day is the day when the Lord comes to Jerusalem.
II. So, for John, the actions of Jesus point to his prophetic role and the reality that he is the one who will bring the judgment of the Lord.
A. In VV 15 – 16 Jesus criticized the Temple cult combining harsh words with even harsher actions.
B. Jesus is speaking and action God’s truth for this is the prophet’s vocation.
C. The actions and words of Jesus are those of an angry prophet, not an ordinary Passover pilgrim. His words and actions echo those of others who came before him such as Jeremiah (7: 1 – 15; 19: 10 – 15) and Ezekiel (4:1 – 5:17).
III. The selling of live goats, lambs, doves and the noise of money lenders shouting their “exchange rates” took place in what was known then as the Court of the Gentiles.
A. It was the only place where non-Jews could come to worship and pray. It has been turned from a place of worship into a marketplace. The ways of the world had invaded a sacred space.
B. Look for a moment at VS. 19 – “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” Here, Jesus is talking about another “sacred space,” one within his body. One with which we can identify.
C. We may not have goats, lambs, doves and money changers here in our sacred space; but, we do have many other distractions in the sacred space of our lives.
Conclu: What if I gave you the opportunity to have one of those “PODS” in your driveway for the remainder of Lent. You could store anything in that POD that distracted you or cluttered your home, your workspace or your life. What kinds of things would you put in it? During Lent, we need to take the opportunity to cleanse our inner temple of the goats, lambs, doves and money changers. We need to focus more on the God who created us and all that is. Let’s just say, OUT! to all those distractions. OUT! to the unnecessary. OUT! to confusion and clutter so that we can let the peace of Christ reign in our lives and hearts if only for the remainder of this season of Lent.