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Zeal that Consumes

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Zeal That Consumes

JOHN, the Book, the Man – Part 5

Feb 19, 2007    Dr. Rick Isbell

READ – John 2: 13-25


13 The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple complex He found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and He also found the moneychangers sitting there. 15 After making a whip out of cords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the moneychangers’ coins and overturned the tables. 16 He told those who were selling doves, “Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!” 

17 And His disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for Your house will consume Me. 

18 So the Jews replied to Him, “What sign of authority will You show us for doing these things?”

19 Jesus answered, “Destroy this sanctuary, and I will raise it up in three days.” 

20 Therefore the Jews said, “This sanctuary took 46 years to build, and will You raise it up in three days?” 

21 But He was speaking about the sanctuary of His body. 22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this.  And they believed the Scripture and the statement Jesus had made.

23 While He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many trusted in His name when they saw the signs He was doing. 24 Jesus, however, would not entrust Himself to them, since He knew them all 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify about man; for He Himself knew what was in man. 

This cleansing of the Temple that John describes in the beginning of his book is likely a different incident than the one recorded in the other three Synoptic Gospels.

-          John was familiar with the Synoptics and probably was supplementing those writings of the other disciples with information that they may have not witnessed.

-          This cleansing caught the people by surprise and they did not know how to deal with it.

-          The later one spoken of in the other three Gospels is the incident that quickly led to Jesus’ death.

2:13-14   As was the custom for the Jewish people Jesus went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover

-          This reminded them of God’s grace in delivering them from the bondage in Egypt.

-          The temple courts refer to a large courtyard, the Court of the Gentiles, surrounding the temple enclosure. (See the sketch of the temple.)

-          The buying and selling of animals in the area was probably rationalized as a convenience for the pilgrims coming into Jerusalem.

-          But abuses developed, and the pilgrim traffic became a major source of income for the city.

-          With money to be made, worship easily became corrupted.

-          The money changers were another convenience for the pilgrims. Temple dues had to be paid in the acceptable Tyrian coinage, and a high percentage was charged for changing coins.


2:15  Malachi had predicted that One would come suddenly to the temple to purify the religion of the nation (Mal. 3:1-3).

-          In moral indignation (holy anger) Jesus started a stampede of the sheep and cattle, and overturned the tables.


2:16  Jesus protested the turning of His Father’s house into a market.

-          He did not protest the sacrificial system itself.

-          He was protesting the way that a place of worship had become no more than any other marketplace

-          In the second cleansing of the temple toward the end of His ministry, Jesus’ attack was sharper. Then He called the temple area “a den of robbers”

2:17. Jesus’ disciples remembered Psalm 69:9 and how it stated that the Righteous One would pay a price for His commitment to God’s temple.

-          This zeal for God would consume Him and ultimately lead Him to His death.


2:18-19. The Jews—either the Jewish authorities or the merchants—demanded some proof for His right to challenge the existing order

-          instead of giving in to their demand, Jesus gave a veiled saying.

-          As with His parables, one purpose of these brain-teaser sayings was to puzzle the hearers who opposed Him.

-          He desired that His hearers ponder the saying in order to perceive its significance.

-          Destroy this temple is in the form of a command, but you may remember that at Jesus’ trial He was accused of saying He could destroy the temple and raise it again in three days

2:20-21  They brag about the work done on the temple over the years

-          Herod the Great decided to replace the temple of Zerubbabel because it was not of the same glory as that of Solomon’s

-          They stated that it took 46 years to build the temple as it was

-          How then, the Jews asked, could He rebuild it in three days?

-          That would be impossible! The Greek words for and You are emphatic, suggesting their contempt for Him.

-          Of course by the temple Jesus meant His body which, after his death, would be resurrected in three days.


2:22  Even Jesus’ own disciples did not understand His enigmatic saying at first.

-          It took the light of the Resurrection a good time later to illuminate this truth in their hearst.

2:23. While . . . in Jerusalem during the Passover, Jesus did other signs which John chose not to describe.

-          The effect of these miracles (which were probably healings) was to elicit faith on the part of many people.

-          They believed in His name, but this was not necessarily saving faith.

-          They believed He was a great Healer, but not necessarily a great Savior from sin.


2:24-25  Jesus knew that a temporary excitement or a faith based on signs was not sufficient.

-          Many of the early followers later turned back when He did not take up the role of a political king

-          Having supernatural knowledge, Jesus does not need human help to evaluate men.

-          As God, He sees beyond the superficial to people’s hearts.

Now if we take this story at face value, then we must be sinning here today at our church because:

-          We have 50th anniversary ink pens for sale in the foyer

-          Last week we sold valentine candy and flowers

-          We have sign up sheet for trips

I have been churches where they will not allow singing groups to sell their CDs because that is turning God’s house into a marketplace.

-          Is that what this verse is talking about?


The market itself was not the problem:

-          It was the corruption

-          It was the sin pattern developing in the people’s hearts

-          It was the worshippers who didn’t want to put forth any extra effort to make God’s Kingdom expand to greatness

-          It was the people using the name of God for self gain

-          It was the people who claimed to be God’s people who were literally robbing God

-          It was the fact that even though they were going on with their weekly and daily worship, nobody was really falling under any kind of conviction that led to life change or Kingdom thinking

-          They were more concerned with the 46 years it took to build the temple than they were about getting to know this One who said I am the new temple of God and you need me to truly please God.

I wonder where the church of today would fit into this story?

More importantly, where does Leaclair fit in this story? 

Demonstrate with items stacked on a table that clouds our purpose.

-          Overturn table

-          Set the cross in the middle of the table for focus

-          Lay not cards with testimonies around the cross

-          Prayer for Zeal that Consumes


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