Summary: Sermon compares Jesus’ act of cleansing the Temple with the way He feels about many of our churches.
Introduction: Three weeks ago we looked at the Compassion of Christ. We saw how Jesus showed compassion to a Widow who had lost her son, a man who was suffering from leprosy, and over 4000 people who were hot, tired and hungry. This morning I want us to look at a passage of Scripture that deals with a side of Jesus that we don’t normally think about. If you have your Bible turn with me to the Second Chapter of the Gospel of John. We will begin reading in verse 12 in a few moments.
But before we read this passage of Scripture I want you to use your imagination for a few moments.
Imagine you are on your way to church one Sunday morning. You have had a more difficult week than normal. You are physically, emotionally and spiritually drained. You realize that you are running on fumes and are looking forward to getting your tank filled up so you can face the world again Monday morning.
You are particularly excited about the worship service because you know we will be observing the Lord’s Supper, which is always a special service.
But when you pull into the parking lot you quickly notice that it is already full, and you have a difficult time finding a place to park. But even though you have to park over in the field you are still excited about being here and are looking forward to what God has in store for you today.
You notice that there are a lot of people standing outside on the steps and you wonder what is going on. When you get a little closer you realize that a couple of tables have been set up outside and that people are waiting in line for some reason.
You also notice that people are writing checks and converting them and the paper money they have into silver coins. You wonder what is going on and ask the person in front of you what up. They inform you that the members of the Finance Committee recently made the decision to have everyone start using a new type of Church currency for the tithes and offerings. You wait patiently in line and sure enough when you finally make it to the table you are told that you need the new church currency in order to make an offering. So you take out a $20 bill and lay it down on the table and the person at the table takes your money and gives you a $10 church coin in return.
When you finally get through the front door you immediately notice more tables and more lines. At one table you notice some people are buying hymnbooks, while others are simply renting them. At another table you discover that they are selling communion bread for $5.00 and a cup of grape juice for $7.50.
The longer you stand there the madder you get. You make a vow right then and there to never miss another business meeting again and to do your best to see that heads would roll over this.
If you can imagine an experience like this and how frustrating it would be, then you can relate to how Jesus must have felt when he entered the temple courts during Passover to worship the Heavenly Father. Let’s read this passage of Scripture together.
READ John 2:12-23
In order to really understand this passage of Scripture I believe it is important for us to understand the background behind it.
Notice that the 13th verse of our text tells us that it was almost time for the Jewish Passover. Passover of course was the Jewish Holiday or festival held during the Spring of the year where the Jews recalled how God delivered them from slavery in the Land of Egypt.
It is also important for us to remember that every Jewish male over the age of 12 was required to come to Jerusalem for the Passover, therefore Jews from all over Israel and around the world were in Jerusalem for the Celebration. Which of course meant that it was very crowded.
It is also important to know that every family was required to do two very important things. They were required to pay a Temple Tax and offer a perfect sacrifice for the atonement of their sins. But there was a catch. Only one kind of currency could be used to pay the tax or buy an animal to sacrifice.
Since there were a lot of people from out of town and even some from other countries it was necessary for the people to exchange their foreign currency for the kind that could be used in the Temple. This was a necessary service but the moneychangers had allowed greed to get the best of them. They were taking advantage of people and getting rich in the process.