Summary: Unpacking the first clearing of the temple by Jesus of Nazareth in Jerusalem and its appplication to the Church & believer today.
Jhn 2:12-25. Painful but needful
After the wedding Jesus travels down from the hill country of Cana ( 16 miles) to Capernaum by the sea of Galilee. Here we see they stayed a few days ( this area served as head quarters during his ministry) (12). The Passover was approaching and so they went up ( raised on a hill) to Jerusalem (13) to celebrate the Passover .
( A Jewish festival Ex 12:1-28 ) which commemorated their redemption out of Egypt each household would bring a sacrificial lamb for each household. This day was a lasting memorial in the Jewish calendar (Ex 12:14). It also coincided with the feast of unleavened bread, which lasted for 7 days. In the 1st month from the 14th day to 21st day all leaven would be removed from households and they would eat unleavened bread, with a sacred assembly on the 1st day and the 7th. With no work being done on those particular days.
Earlier we saw Jesus celebrating with others at a wedding , where the atmosphere was filled with blessed Joy where Jesus performed the 1st of His miraculous signs which revealed His glory. Here it’s a complete different atmosphere at the temple, its palpable you can cut the air with a knife, Jesus is filled with Holy indignation and acts with a prophetic zeal , he makes a whip of cords (15) and sets about clearing the temple of the traders selling animals for worship (Court of the Gentiles) and the money exchangers . It a very painful experience to see Jesus in this way, but very needful.
• The dentist for me as a child was always a fearful & painful experience, as the dentist examines my teeth, I know he is going to find some decay, and action is going to be needed to be taken the whole experience is going to be painful but needful, if we are to stop the decay. To get the teeth into a healthy condition, if left the decay will spread and the pain will intensify & so it is here we have Jesus entering the temple and upon examination he has to eradicate all which was unhealthy.
tense, dust is in the air, Jesus has made a whip and is whipping the traders around him, turning over their tables, money scattering over the floor, people are being pushed around , pigeons are taking flight, the sheep & goats are running loose, people are being pushed left right and centre, a cacophony of noise echo’s the temple courts, as the tables are being overturned, temple money scattered all over the place, people are their hands and knees scrambling for money, the place is in uproar. And then the disciples remembered the Scriptures (so important) (17) “ Zeal for your house will consume me.”
What was wrong?
Isn’t Jesus just OTT. After all these traders were doing a service for the people coming up to the Passover and festivities they were offering sacrifices for people to offer before God. It was an act of worship, Also these traders offered people a service it saved people from bringing up to Jerusalem their own livestock, especially if they travelled miles, these animals after all were also officially recognised by the priests as livestock worthy to sacrifice, also they had always done it this way, after all everybody was doing it in the temple courts, so what’s the big problem Jesus?
The answer is No
Jesus was not OTT but consumed with Gods Holy passion and zeal for His house. You see these traders were selling the sacrifices in the temple (Grk: Heiron) this means they were in the area surrounding the temple including the court of the Gentiles , not in the temple proper (Grk: naos) where Gentiles were excluded. So by conducting their business in the temple courts, these traders were disrupting the worship of the Non Jewish God fearers and thus defeated the very purpose the temple existed, for the non-Jewish worshippers.
The actions of Jesus are more than justified. In fact they are prophetic psalm 69:9 “ Zeal for your house will consume me.” As the disciples remember the scriptures: Jesus embodies the ideal heart response of Gods people when it comes to those who disrupt others from entering into the worship of God by their behaviour and actions in the temple.
1. The temple within these walls: v13 – 18
Like Jesus we are to be those consumed with zeal of the Holy Spirit when it comes to the correct worship of God. I want to say the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to direct us in our act of Worship ( 1Cor: 14:26- 40 orderly worship ) . This is our manual, our guide in all areas of worship. I believe that’s why such a stir has taken place over these last five years in this place, because the Spirit is so concerned how we worship Him in the House of God @ Countesthorpe. He is concerned about what is taught from this platform, how we conduct ourselves in worship and life. Through His Word and by His Spirit, He is bringing us back to THE HEART OF WORSHIP. Centred upon Him!