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The Temple Incident

John 2:12-25

 

THE COMMENTARY: Preliminary questions asked and text pondered.

 

After this

The miracle of H2Oh!

 

He went down to Capernaum with His mother, His brothers, and His disciples

Where is Joseph? Was Cana a family affair? Has the family moved to a new

location? His brothers are still not afraid/ashamed to be seen with Him.

 

And they remained there a few days

Calm before the storm? Reflection on the miracle? Relaxed teaching time?

 

The Passover of the Jews was near and Jesus went up to Jerusalem

One of the required feast for all of the Covenant people, Israel, now simply

called the Jews.

Every Jewish person looked forward to this event for it was convocation,

celebration, and vacation all rolled up into one joyous occasion. Jesus

wouldn't miss it even when it became the death of Him.

 

In the temple He found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and money

changers seated at their tables.

Lawful activities during festival. After all, people needed to have the

proper sacrifices available

when they came from out of town The temple tax could only be paid with

proper money free from the taint of heathendom.

 

Making a whip of cords, He drove all of them out of the temple, both the

sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the moneychangers and

overturned their tables.

Extra-biblical historic evidence, Josephus, tells us where these people had

set up shop in the temple. It wasn't the Holy of Holies. It wasn't in the

court of the men. It wasn't even in the court of the women. It was in the

court of the Gentiles, where you and I as Jewish converts would have been

allowed to come and approach God in worship. Wouldn't that make you angry?

It did trip the trigger for what Jesus knew was proper. (cf Malachi 3:1

Messiah in the Temple)

 

He told those who were selling doves, " Take these things out of here! Stop

making My Father's house a marketplace!

The secret of His righteous indignation was that instead of enhancing the me

ans of worship for the pilgrims and other congregants, they were preventing

worshippers from worshipping God!

 

His disciples remembered that it is written, " Zeal for Your house will

consume Me. "

Then or much later?

 

The Jews then said to Him, What sign can you show us for doing this?

This has been going on ever since we can remember. What right do you have to

come in here and change our order with this chaos? Where's the proof? Put up

some evidence?

 

Jesus answered them, " Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it

up. "

Only with the " rest of the story " can we make any sense of this.

 

The Jews then said, " The temple has been under construction for forty-six

years and you will raise it up in three days? "

Pride in our present religious achievements often makes us blind to truth or

honest inquiry. The temple was so much their god that they swore oaths by

the temple or even the furniture of the temple.

But He was speaking of the Temple of His Body. After He was raised from the

dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this; and they believed the

Scripture and the Word that Jesus had spoken.

Faith seems to be a series of times of doubt and renewed belief

strengthening us anew as we discover new truths confirmed by the words of

Jesus and the Spirit's testimony within us.

 

When He was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in His

name because they saw the signs that He was doing.

Pledging yourself to Jesus has to be based upon who He is and not just what

He is doing for you.

 

But Jesus, on His part, would not entrust Himself to them because He knew

all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for He Himself knew

what was in everyone.

You can fool all of the people some of the time and you can fool some of the

people all of the time but you can't fool Jesus any of the time. He knows

the thoughts and intentions of your heart.

 

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 7:1-11

 

The Christian's Temple

John 2:12-25

THE STORY: Not just a tale told long ago and far away but a message for us

who live in the here and now.

 

After the wedding feast at Cana Jesus and His mother, His brothers, and His

disciples went to Capernaum. Peter had a home in the city which seems have

been a staging area for ministry into other areas. We are not told why His

mother or brothers followed but some have speculated that they had family

there or even that they had perhaps moved here after the death of Joseph.

John does not tell us how Jesus spent His time here but perhaps He was

resting for the lull before the storm accompanying next great and public

sign. The dramatic opening that His mother had only hinted of in Cana was to

crash upon the scene in Jerusalem and stir the whole nation.

 

The Passover was at hand. All of the nation was thronging toward the capitol

and holy city, Jerusalem. At the age of twelve Jesus had astonished the

scholars of the nation with His insightful dialogue with them in the Temple.

But today He would come in the fulness of divine power and authority. The

outermost court, the court of the gentiles was filled with a seedy crowd of

racketeers. There is the raucous sound of the herds and flocks of animals

and the hordes of people hawking their wares and haggling with their

customers. There is a riot of colors from the festive attire of those on

holiday from lands far and near. The Holy Temple of God has been turned into

a market-place.

 

Suddenly, into this scene a lone figure enters carrying a whip, the symbol

of authority and punishment. A small band of bewildered disciples follow at

a distance. Then with a fearful gesture He brandishes His homemade whip

fashioned from cords lying about the temple pavement as He crosses the court

to where the sellers and money changers are. He steps over to them and

advances toward the nearest blasphemy He can reach. The Divine wrath of

Jesus of Nazareth, the Prophet from Galilee electrifies the multitude and

they flee headlong away from His presence as He thunderously denounces their

hideous desecration of God's House.

 

The boldest slither off with smoldering defiance on their faces. Wielding

His whip, Jesus drives the dumb brutes and the animals they are selling

before Him and imperiously commands those who had cotes of doves to get them

out of His Father's house. With an indignant sweep He overturns the tables

of the bankers and scatters their ill-gotten gain over the temple floor.

The disciples stand apart awestricken, their mouths agape. Suddenly, they

are reminded of a notable prediction of the Messiah found in the 69th Psalm:

" The zeal of Thy House has eaten me up." Surely, jealous smoldering fires

stirred up this day in the hearts of the prophets for hire would consume Him

in their hatred a few months later at another fateful Passover. Yet it is

His zeal and devotion for God's house that wins this day as He boldly

challenges the power mongers of the nation and publicly denounces their

corrupt misuse of their position and mismanagement of the Temple of His

Father.

 

These hypocritical leaders regroup for an assault and demand that Jesus show

them some miraculous sign to prove that He has the right to override the

High Priest's authority and denounce his legally appointed minions of

marketing. After all there is the matter of a $300,000 a year profit at

stake here.

 

A single man with a simple whip in hand drives out a horde of corrupt

bankers and cattle salesman! What greater sign do you want then that?

 

Yet the blind leaders of the blind ask, " Show us a sign." They ask of a

sign for the sign that God had just given to them.

 

Jesus answers them, perhaps gesturing toward Himself, with a puzzling

prediction which they cannot either fathom or refute: " Destroy this Temple,

and in three days, I will raise it up. "

They understood Him to predict the destruction of the Temple but scoff at

His ability to erect in three days that which had been in the process of

building for 46 years. But He spoke of His body, given up in sacrifice, the

inevitable tragedy that His work of today began.

 

After His resurrection from the dead the apostles recalled the words which

the religious leaders had belittled that day and down through the ages have

resounded in the hearts of believers everywhere. " We have an Altar from

which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. " (Hebrews 13:10)

Jesus is the High Priest, sacrifice and altar in whom we put our trust for

eternal salvation. The incentive for faith is the Risen Temple of God, even

Jesus.

 

FACTUAL DATA

The Temple - Herod's Temple Reconstruction begun in 19 B.C. and not

completed until A.D. 63 just 7 years before Titus destroyed it in 70 A.D.

literally tearing it stone from stone as predicted by Jesus (Matthew 24:2)

 

The Temple Ransom payment - Exodus 30:12-16 - Yearly money given as an

atonement for life for every 20 year old son of Israel and above. 1/2 shekel

= 2 days wages given by rich and poor the same to be used for maintenance of

the temple.

 

The Passover sacrifice - The Passover feast was a well regulated and

required feast day which fell upon Nisan ( April ) 14th. Josephus, the

Jewish historian states that 260,000 lambs were sacrificed during this week.

He is also the source for stating that a nickle pair of pigeons went for

$4.00. Thank offerings were also given at this time. He tells us that the

influx of cash amounted to about $300,000 for this week.

 

THE PROPHECY

 

" And the Lord Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the

Messenger of The Covenant, in whom you delight, Behold, He is coming, ' says

the Lord of Hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can

stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fuller's

soap. " Malachi 3:1,2

THE LESSONS

When God's House Is Desecrated - It angers Jesus

The Outer Court ( The Court of the Gentiles )

Annexed into a Shopping Mall.

When God's People are Abused - It angers Jesus.

Jewish believers cheated - Usury in the trade amount ( 12.5 % to make the

exchange )

Gentile believers ignored ( Outer court was a close as you could come to

worship )

When Religious Leaders are arrogant and self-serving - He will bring them

down.

Jesus promised a real Temple Restoration: Himself

When The People are Shallow - Jesus knows their hearts and their motivation

to believe.

Jesus didn't trust those with "sign" faith.

Follow Jesus because of Who He is not what you think He can do for you.

 

THE APPLICATION

Don't Misuse the Temple of God. " Know you not that you yourselves are God's

temple and God's Spirit lives in you?" I Corinthians 3:16

Do you keep people from seeing God by your conduct?

Do you abuse the temple of God?

Do you grieveor hinder the work of the Holy Spirit within you?

 

Don't Mishandle the People of God. " But whoever cause one of these little

ones to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around

his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea. " Matthew 18:6

 

Don't Magnify yourself or material things over God. " You can not worship

God and mammon. " Luke 16:13

When religious people elevate themselves over others and want people to

honor them they forget that Christ is the Head of the church. Coupled with

materialism religious pride will cause a person to lose sight of the goal

and lose their soul.

 

Don't Misunderstand ( Or twist ) or Ignore the Word of God. " ...the

untaught and unstable distort, as they did with the rest of the Scriptures,

to their own destruction. " 2 Peter 3:16

These men who were teachers of the law twisted the Scripture to maintain

their traditions and let money become the motivating factor of ministry to

others. Those who wrest the Scripture from its context or ignore its plain

teachings to justify what they do are headed for destruction.

 

Don't Miss the Son of God. " He that has the Son has the life but he that

does not have the Son of God does not have life. " I John 5:12 If in your

religious quest you miss seeing Jesus, the Son of God and recognizing that

He is Lord and Savior, you have lost everything.

 

THE PURPOSE OF THIS SIGN ( as are all of them from John's perspective )

Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the

disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written

that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that

believing you may have life in His Name. John 20:30,31

 

CLOSING OBSERVATIONS

Jesus wants full control of our lives.

He wants our motives to be pure and centered upon the Word of God.

He wants our conduct to point to God.

He wants our minds to be centered upon truth not tradition.

He wants our faith to be centered upon His person not what He can do for us.

He must be the Lord of all or He is not the Lord at all.

" The best portion of a good man's life are his nameless, unremembered acts

of kindness and love. " William Wordsworth