Faithlife Sermons

HG031. John 2:13-22

Harmony of the Gospels  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  26:24
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John 2:13–22 NKJV
Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
This week we are able to move away from the more sensitive issues of the role of women and wine and alcohol, nothing controversial this week, or is there? Well, we will no doubt visit controversial subjects again for that is the nature of going through Scripture systematically whether it is going through the gospels chronologically or a New Testament letter, sooner or later we are going to broach subjects on which we do not all agree. I hope that despite differences we can each hold each other in grace and love and have robust debates about what God says rather than our own closely guarded opinions. None of us have yet got all of doctrine right but we seek God out of sincerity of heart.
Back to today’s passage: Capernaum is 80 miles from Jerusalem as the crow flies. Well, we know that roads are not as the crow flies especially this one where we find Jesus this week. This was no quick journey for He and the disciples would have walked and it would have taken 4 days. How things have changed! This is a journey that now takes 2.5 hours to drive.
We found out last week that Cana is 67 miles from Jerusalem as the crow flies. Well, we know that the roads are not straight all the way to Jerusalem where we find Jesus this week. This was no quick journey for He would have walked and would have taken several days. During this passage and the meeting with Nicodemus afterwards we have no sight of any of Jesus’ disciples so He was possibly on His own.
Have you thought about what it says in
Daniel 12:4 NKJV
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
What a prophecy that has come true in our times: knowledge has exploded as well as the very fast way we travel - getting to Australia in less than a day - you could literally get there and back covering 22,000 miles before Jesus could cover 80 miles of travel back then.
Well, Passover is one of three mandatory festivals where all Jewish men were expected to go up to Jerusalem to the Temple and so went off Jesus probably with His brothers and disciples as they get mentioned in verse 12. Remember Galilee is in the north and so had to go down to Jerusalem, but here it says go up: The language used is purposeful: Jerusalem is on a mountain, you go literally have to go up to Jerusalem and the Temple and so it became a thing with pilgrimages that you go up to the Lord for He is above all.
We heard about the Passover two weeks ago when John the Baptist spoke of Jesus, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. It was important for Jesus to be there not only as a Jew but as the One who is saviour of the world. John uses unusual language: instead of the Lord’s Passover as it is called in Exodus it is here called the Jews’ Passover. No longer was the Lord Lord of this festival. Religion had taken over, it was now just ritual but here was Jesus was coming.
But He was in shock when He arrived, it was not how it was when He was there as a 12-yr child. Now in the place which He had said was the place He was expected to be going about the Father’s business there was a giant marketplace. An altogether different kind of business. It is not that surprising seeing how many people were there at the time: Josephus. the Jewish historian of the time, reckons there were 2.7 million people there for the festival as records showed that 255,000 animals were slaughtered. If you ever have been to the old cattle markets this must have been how it felt but on a grander scale. Yes, the people had come to sacrifice, they needed to buy animals, especially sheep for the Passover but the Temple had now become a barn. They were not supposed to be selling their produce inside the temple but outside of it. Not only that but they were fleecing the people by making the only currency acceptable the Temple money having to exchange their ordinary money for a price before they could buy for the sacrifice. The priests must have got incredibly rich of the back of the traders and the people. Then there is the noise of all this which must have been tremendous and hardly conducive for worship or prayer or quiet reflection. Be still and know that I am God was just not possible.
Well, this was just not right. Some people talk about the red mist of anger descending and destruction ensuing with the lives of others potentially in danger as a result but is this how we would characterise how Jesus was? I think that there is a difference. Those who speak of anger arising in such a way find that they are not in control of their emotions or their physical outbursts. The anger of Jesus was controlled and ordered though it certainly disrupted what was going on in the Temple.
Jesus made a whip, the kind used to move flocks, and then went to work. Again He was going about His Father’s business, His Father’s work. I can’t imagine what the people made of this. Suddenly all their wares were on the floor, money flying everywhere and animals on the loose and on the run and they too were suddenly on the run out the door. I mean you wouldn’t stay either it you were face to face with fleeing animals and someone who had a whip. To those who were selling doves to the poor, for it was only the poor who would buy doves He was saying get out and take your stuff with you. How dare you make my Father’s house a shop.
This is where this verse from comes into play. He was zealous for His Father’s house. And wouldn’t you be? I don’t think anyone here would turn their home into a shop, especially not one that sells animals and birds. But this would be worse if someone else set up shop in your house. This is exactly how Jesus felt about all this.
Isaiah 56:7 NKJV
Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
When we look at the Ministry of Jesus we see that twice he cleared the Temple: once at the beginning of His ministry and once at the start of Holy Week; the week that led to His crucifixion.
Isa
When we look at the Ministry of Jesus we see that twice he cleared the Temple: once at the beginning and once at the start of Holy Week, the week that led to His crucifixion.
My Dad once said that Jesus was a sinner for being angry. So this begs the question, right? Is he right? Is being angry a sin? We believe that Jesus was sinless so we have the answer to the question already. No one said to Jesus - hey you sinner! as surely as they would have in those days…no, they do not accuse Him of anything except to ask what right he has to do these things. So, being angry is not sinful, right? Well, again this is not the whole story.
My Dad once said that Jesus was a sinner for He was once angry. So this begs the question, right? Is being angry a sin? We believe that Jesus was sinless so we have the answer to the question already. No one said to Jesus - hey you sinner! as surely as they would have in those days…no, they do not accuse Him of anything except to ask what right he has to do these things. So, being angry is not sinful, right? Well, again this is not the whole story.
We probably know the verse, for we should as we read it very recently in:
Ephesians 4:26 NKJV
26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
But what kind of anger is being spoken of here? Is it the kind that is angry at someone for cutting you up on the road or the anger of seeing the working conditions of Bangladeshis or of sex trafficking? There is a patent difference. One is self-indignant, the other indignant at the injustice done to others. One self-righteous, the other godly outrage.
Clearly the self-indignant and self-righteous anger is to be avoided. If it is anger because you have been slighted then we are called to forgiveness:
There are both unrighteous forms of anger:
Again from
Ephesians 4:31 NKJV
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Nations can be angry at the wrong things too...
Psalm 2:1–2 NKJV
Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
Psalm 2:1 NKJV
1 Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?
Psalm 2:2 NKJV
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
And then there is a righteous anger which is perfectly allowed and which Jesus showed on a number of occasions: These people had a thing about working on the Sabbath and healing, calling that work;
And then there is a righteous anger which is perfectly allowed and which Jesus showed on a number of occassions as well as in the Old Testametn
Mark 3:5 NKJV
5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
Mark as well as in the Old Testametn
Indeed, we saw a couple of weeks ago, that God gets angry - is He sinning by being so? Of course not!
Then the Jews ask a very odd thing: show us a sign that you are right to do these things. Either it was right or wrong, surely. Do you need a sign for this? They had come so far down the road that they did not think that what they were doing was wrong- and who are you to tell us anyway!
Psalm 7:11 NKJV
11 God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.
One of the best examples of misplaced anger is found in that Jonah that most superficial of prophets:
:6-9
Jonah 4:6–9 NKJV
6 And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. 7 But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. 8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”
Jonah 4 NKJV
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!” 4 Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. 6 And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. 7 But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. 8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” 10 But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?
Jesus, anger then, was just and godly and right.
Then the Jews ask a very odd thing: show us a sign that you are right to do these things. Either it was right or wrong, surely. Do you need a sign for this? They had come so far down the road that they did not think that what they were doing was wrong- and who are you to tell us anyway!
Then the Jews ask a very odd thing: show us a sign that you are right to do these things. They were asking Jesus for His credentials in doing such a thing so boldly in the Temple. But it also revealed their hearts: Either it was right or wrong, surely. Do you need a sign for this? They had come so far down the road that they did not think that what they were doing was wrong- and who are you to tell us anyway! But then they must have suspected that He was more than just a man to ask for a sign…therefore they knew He had authority to do these things after all - they were trying to justify their own actions which were unjustifiable. In fact the cleansing of the Temple was a sign that He did have authority to do these things.
Well, if we think the request was strange the answer is stranger too. At least to their ears at the time. We have the benefit of hindsight which they did not.
Destroy this Temple and in three days I’ll raise it up.
A misunderstanding of this came out at His trial: there it was claimed by a witness:
Matthew 26:61 NKJV
61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ”
What I don’t get about this, of course, is why that would be an issue anyway - so what if He did say that? Sometimes we can get on the bandwagon and repeat accusations which, if they are true, so what? Of course, this was not exactly what was said or even what was meant but even if He had said it surely He would be more than capable of doing it! On top of that Jesus did not say I will destroy but ‘you’.
Well, they said, it took 46 years to build the Temple and even then it was not completed but it all came down in a few days in AD70 when the Romans came in with force fulfilling what Jesus later said ‘that not one stone will be left upon another’. By the way John roots this into the historical for we know that the building of the Temple was started in 19BC, plus 46 years gives us the date 28AD. (The year 0 does not exist!) This event happened on or around the 21st April 28AD. When Jesus cleansed the Temple the second time it was in 30AD - two different events with different outcomes.
The sign that He was giving to them was the sign of the resurrection. The sign is: I will prove that I had the right to clear out the Temple because I am God to whom this Temple belongs. You will destroy this temple but in three days I will raise it up.
The disciples only remembered after His resurrection that He had said these things and they were confirmed in their faith accordingly. They believed the Scripture , that is the Old Testament, and the words that Jesus said equating it with the same authority. It is great to have our faith confirmed by something that God does, isn’t it…it helps us trust Him more.
John 10:18 NKJV
No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
The disciples only remembered after His resurrection that He had said these things and were confirmed in their faith accordingly. They believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus said.
however, with that said, He did not allow them to dictate where He was going or what He was going to do. Why? Because He knew all of them just as He knew Nathanael and knew that He was a true Israelite He also knew the hearts of those who were about Him. He knew that they wanted a revolutionary leader to overthrow the Romans, a leader like in the time of the Maccabees when they revolted and had some victories in the time between the Old and New Testament. But Jesus would not commit to such an endeavour for His Kingdom on earth was not now, He was instead declaring the Kingdom of Heaven, a spiritual Kingdom where Christ rules in our hearts. it is an indictment on the hearts of people that because Jesus knew what they are like that He could not trust them. Indeed we do not really know the depths of our own hearts:
Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
We do not know it but Jesus does for it is bare and open to Him.
What can we learn from all this? Get rid of your anger in relation to personal things and be angry about injustice and hardness of hearts.
And second, the Temple of God is no longer a physical place that we go to. The old order of things was taken away at the destruction of the Temple in AD70 but actually it was already on its way out during the time of Jesus. The Temple was where you went to meet with God. Some people treat church buildings like sacred places today. We have no need of this. Jesus name was called Immanuel. Which means: God with us.
Jesus is now the Temple, Jesus is now the One to whom the peoples should go to. And when Jesus died the curtain separating us all from the Holy of Holies was torn in two meaning that we all now have access to God the Father through Jesus Christ. The Temple had outlived its usefulness with its emptiness of religion - a new Temple had arrived.
And now, in or time, as Christians, we do not need to go to any Church or any building to meet with God; we can meet with Him at any moment of any day. But with that said we are called as His people to come together and this is normally in a purpose-built building where we meet together in His name. But what happens when we meet in His name?
Let’s hear what Jesus Himself said:
Matthew 18:20 NKJV
For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
for, Scripture says, that Jesus Himself comes in to be with us.
Let us, then approach the Temple of God and worship Him.
Let’s pray
Remember, next week we meet with Nicodemus and - please invite as many of your neighbours, friends and family as you can for this service for it will be evangelistic in nature whilst also delving into what God has to say to us through Christ.

Bibliography

Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Beitzel, B. J., & Lyle, K. A. (Eds.). (2016). Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Bock, D. L. (2014). NT211 Introducing the Gospels and Acts: Their Background, Nature, and Purpose. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Bryant, B. H., & Krause, M. S. (1998). John. Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.
Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.
Edersheim, A. (1896). The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. New York: Longmans, Green, and Co.
Haenchen, E., Funk, R. W., & Busse, U. (1984). John: a commentary on the Gospel of John. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
Kittel, G., Bromiley, G. W., & Friedrich, G. (Eds.). (1964–). Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: The Gospels () (electronic ed., Vol. 38). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Exported from Logos Bible Software, 08:54 15 July 2017.
Do we see what He is saying: look would you set up a shop in your own house with birds and all the mess they make? Well,
Well, they answered Him and said what sign will you show us
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