Summary: Deals with the subject of being consumed with a passion for the things of God.

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What’s Eating You?

(John 2:13-17)

I. The Context

A. Preceding events

1. Wedding in Cana

2. Visit with His family

B. Approaching Passover in Jerusalem

II. An Appalling Scene

A. Enters the Temple area—Court of the Gentiles

B. Saw total disregard for the sanctity of the place

III. A Righteous Response

A. Fashions a scourge to drive out money changers

B. Declares His relationship to the Father

C. Fulfills prophecy

IV. God’s Message to Us

A. God desires people who are consumed with passion for Him and His purposes

B. God has made His residence in us—we are His temple

C. God reminds us that the world is making inferences about Himself based on how we live

[NOTE: Although this is the full text of the sermon, there is some intentional "sketchiness" to it. I left holes in order to leave room for the Holy Spirit to speak in the moment. This is especially true of the conclusion which is almost completely void of substance.]


I would imagine that most of us are acquainted with the phrase, “What’s eating you?” We have probably heard it or we may have even used in the course of an encounter with someone. Generally, it carries a negative connotation. It is employed at best as a means of validating one’s perceptions concerning the emotional state of an individual being observed, or at worst merely as a means of venting one’s frustrations toward another.

For example, let’s say I was watching (Victor) as he came into church this morning and from what I was able to see, he appeared to be a little agitated. I noticed that he’s not wearing his normal cheery face, he just passed right by me without saying anything or even punching me in the arm, he’s pretty much keeping to himself and sitting in a corner. This is all just fictitious, of course, but just to continue with the illustration, I might, out of a sense of concern go up to him and ask, “Hey, what’s eating you today?” The purpose of my inquiry would be that I would want to know what is bothering him in order to enter into his struggle and help him find a solution. That’s the best case scenario.

On the other hand, I might be having a rough day myself when I observed (Victor’s) actions. And due to my own personal problems, I might walk up to him and say, “Hey, what’s eating you today?” and then quickly walk away. In this instance I’m not at all concerned about (Victor), I’m just looking for a place to vent and (Victor) seemed like an easy target.

Our experience with that phrase, as either the transmitter or receiver, usually has fallen somewhere between the two extremes. But I want you to consider that there is another sense in which this phrase can be understood—having a positive connotation and ramifications. I ask you to leave yourselves open to the possibility of being “eaten” by the things of God.

This morning we are going to take a look at the account of the first time that Jesus cleansed the Temple. As we give consideration to this incident in the life and ministry of Jesus, I encourage you to be listening to what the Spirit has to teach us from this passage. I believe that this passage has much to say to us about our need to be diligent and intentional about the upkeep of our lives. Please open your Bibles with me to John 2:13-17 (p. 790).

The Context

Before we get into the heart of today’s message, I want to briefly describe the context in which this event in the life and ministry of Jesus takes place.

Preceding Events

John describes two important incidents that occur as the backdrop of the occasion we will consider this morning.

Wedding in Cana

The first took place in Cana of Galilee a small town west of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had come to this place because He had been invited to attend a wedding along with His mother, Mary, and His disciples. During the course of the celebration, Mary informed Jesus that there was a problem—they had run out of wine. After a brief discussion on the matter, Jesus instructed the servants to fill the six stone jars that stood nearby with water. We are told that each of these jars held between 20-30 gallons. After filling the stone jars, Jesus simply instructed the servants to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. As a result of their obedience to Jesus’ command, they were surprised to discover that the water had been transformed into wine—not just any wine, but the best wine. This was Jesus’ first miracle.

Visit with His Family

After the wedding, John tells us that Jesus spent some time with his family in the neighboring town of Capernaum located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. Kent Hughes writes in his commentary, “Capernaum was about twenty miles from Cana, so it was not much of a journey to get there. It was probably a very delightful journey since it was then spring in Palestine. As they approached Capernaum, they saw low, rising hills, the deep blue of the Sea of Galilee, and finally beautiful Capernaum situated on the shore, sprawling back into the hills and framed from behind by the snowcapped majesty of Mt. Hermon” (PTW-WS). I imagine that this time spent with His family served as an opportunity for Jesus to catch up on some much needed rest before embarking on His next trip.

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