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The Third Sunday in Lent

March 23, 2003


TITLE:     Bringing Good from Bad

SERMON IN A SENTENCE:    The cleansing of the temple demonstrates that God can bring good from bad.

SCRIPTURE:    John 2:13-22    (Top of page)


God is able to bring good out of bad.  That thought ought to cheer us.  We all do some bad things during our lives and suffer bad experiences, but God has the power to redeem the bad -- and that is a blessing.

We see that in our Gospel lesson today.  Something bad happened.  Caiaphas, the high priest, quarreled with the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of Israel.  Caiaphas rewarded his supporters in that conflict by allowing them to establish concession stands inside the temple area to sell cattle and sheep and birds -- and to exchange money.  Everyone else had to set up booths across the way in the Kidron Valley, but those who backed Caiaphas got prime real estate inside the temple walls.

The selling of animals and the changing of coins were necessary, because people came from afar at Passover to make their sacrifices in the temple and to pay their temple tax.  The scriptures provided that only the best animals -- those without blemish -- were acceptable as sacrifices.  How could anyone bring a top-quality animal -- one without blemish -- perfectly groomed -- from Galilee or Rome or Egypt?  They couldn't!  Anyone who has traveled across country with children knows that, at the end of such a journey, nobody is perfectly groomed -- nobody gets there without blemish!  So these travelers needed to buy their sacrificial animals in Jerusalem.  They needed someone to set up shop to provide acceptable animals.

And these travelers would bring money from their own country and the countries through which they passed to get to Jerusalem. So these travelers needed to exchange this mish-mash into coins acceptable for the temple-tax.  They needed someone to set up a money exchange.

But they didn't need a marketplace inside the temple walls.  I started this sermon by saying that God can bring good from bad.  The bad was the marketplace inside the temple walls.  There had to be a marketplace somewhere, but it didn't need to be inside the temple walls.  It would not have been there had it not been for Caiaphas and his political cronies.  God was not well served by the crowding and the noise and the smell of animals inside the temple precincts. 

So Jesus came to the temple, got a whip, and drove the cattle and sheep out of the temple.  He went through the area overturning the tables of the moneychangers and scattering their coins hither and yon.  He said, "Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!"  Nobody else knew it yet, but Jesus was the beloved Son of his beloved Father, and he was not about to tolerate people setting up shop in his Father's house -- boarding animals on his Father's property -- dropping dung on his Father's floor.  "Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!" he commanded. 

This was very disruptive.  I have always pictured Jesus herding four or five cattle and three or four sheep from the temple, but the scene must have been quite different.  Over one hundred thousand pilgrims came to Jerusalem for Passover, and they came to offer their sacrifices at the temple.  At any given time, there would have been thousands of people inside the temple walls -- probably tens of thousands.  There would have been dozens or hundreds of vendors, all hawking their cattle or sheep or birds or coins.  It would have been like a street fair -- crowded, noisy, people jostling each other, vendors crying out. 

How would you like to make a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the temple to worship God and then have to navigate that kind of mess to get to the sanctuary?  Jesus didn't like it at all.  He didn't just order them to get out -- he got a whip and drove them out.  He scattered their tables and their money and their dignity all over the floor.  The effect must have been like a stick in the spokes -- he stopped everything cold. 

So the marketplace in the temple was bad, but God brought good from the bad.  This incident in the temple gave Jesus the opportunity to introduce himself as God's Son.  Jesus would be the new temple -- the new place where people would come into the presence of God.  We no longer need to travel to Jerusalem to commune with God.  We can commune with God wherever bread is broken and wine is poured out in Christ's name.  Our pilgrimage into God's presence need not be a once-in-a-lifetime affair.  We can enter God's presence whenever we like, because Jesus makes God accessible.

And that is Good News!  It is Good News, because we all have experiences where we feel completely isolated -- when we wonder where God is -- when the pain seems too great to bear.  The promise is that God is with us even through the valley of the shadow of death.  The promise is that God redeems us.  The promise is that God brings good from even the worst situation.

You might remember that, some years ago, Terry Anderson was captured and held hostage by militants in Lebanon.  They held him for seven long years, much of which he spent in darkness and chains. He didn't know whether he would ever be free again.  He didn't know whether he would be alive the next day.

But God brought good from the bad.  Before Anderson was captured, he wasn't a very nice man.  But his imprisonment changed him.  God was at work in his life through his pain.  After he was freed, he reflected on his imprisonment.  He said:

"I almost chuckle sometimes --

this punishment, if punishment it is,

seems perfectly designed for my sins and weaknesses....

I drank too much -- no alcohol here.

I chased women -- no women here.

I'm arrogant --

what better than to put me in the hands of these so-arrogant, uncaring young men.

I've been careless of others' feelings --

these people give not one tiny thought to mine.

I've been agnostic most of my adult life --

my only comfort here is the Bible, and my prayers."

It was in that terrible situation -- because of that terrible situation -- that God was able to break through the hardness of Terry Anderson's heart.  In the depth of his despair, Anderson prayed:

"Help me!  There's no reason why you should.

Don't we always turn to you when we're in trouble

and away from you when things are good?

I'm doing the same.

But you love me.  So help me."

And God did help him.  I don't know what kind of help Anderson had in mind.  He probably just wanted God to free him from that hellish situation.  And, in a sense, that was what God did.  God became very present for Anderson in that dark cell.  God used that hellish situation to free Anderson from the sins and compulsions that had enslaved him prior to his imprisonment.  Eventually, God also freed Anderson from his imprisonment.  When he did, Anderson was a different person, a new man -- redeemed, whole.

Whether you are doing bad things or suffering through bad experiences, God will be there with you if you will let him.  God will help.

If you are doing bad things, ask God for help.  When you do, be aware that asking God to redeem you from your sins is like asking a surgeon to save you from your cancer.  God's cures are not always gentle, but they can save your life.  If you ask God to help you become a new person, don't be surprised if your cure involves pain -- "for the Lord reproves the one he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights (Prov. 3:12).  But do expect that God will help.  Expect that God will redeem you.

And if you are suffering through bad experiences, ask God for help.  Again, the help might or might not be gentle, but the Lord will restore your soul.

The story of the cleansing of the temple is, first and foremost, the assurance that Jesus is the new temple -- the place where we meet God -- the one who brings us into God's presence -- the one who restores our soul.  It is the assurance that Jesus makes it possible to come into God's presence wherever we might be.  There is no place on earth -- or under the earth -- or above the earth -- where God is not with us. 

The story of the cleansing of the temple is also the promise that Jesus provides what we need.  He created us and loves us -- and he will redeem us.  This story is the assurance that nothing we have ever done is so bad that we are beyond redemption.

So come to Jesus.  Come and receive his blessing.



EXEGESIS:      (Top of page)


This chapter began with the story of Jesus' first miracle at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee.  On that occasion, the host ran out of wine and Jesus changed a great quantity of water into remarkably good wine.  "Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him" (2:11). 

There are several things to notice about that story: 

-- First, Jesus' ministry began in Galilee, which is the site of most of his ministry in the Synoptic Gospels.  In the Synoptics, he does not go to Jerusalem until the last days of his life.  In John, he goes at the very beginning of his ministry (2:13). 

-- Second, John labels the wine-miracle a "sign," a word that will be important throughout this Gospel.  In this week's Gospel lesson, the Jews will demand a sign, and Jesus offers them a sign with which they are unprepared to deal. 

-- Third is the mention of the word, "glory," a word that we first encountered in this Gospel in the Prologue -- "and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a Father's only Son" (1:14), and a word that will be important throughout this Gospel. 

-- Fourth, at Cana, the disciples "believed in him" (2:11), a statement very similar to the one that concludes the story of the cleansing of the temple, where "many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing" (2:23).

"It is highly significant that both narratives (Cana and the cleansing of the temple) portray Jesus as bringing or embodying what is new, displacing the old" (Smith, 91).


All four Gospels tell the story of the cleansing of the temple (see Matt. 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48), but the Synoptics place it near the end of Jesus' life, and it provokes the chief priests and scribes to plot to kill him (Mark 14:10).  John's Gospel places the cleansing at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and the raising of Lazarus is the precipitating event for his trial and crucifixion (John 11-12).  In John's view, Jesus' life was not taken from him, but he laid it down of his own accord (10:17-18).

There are three theories about the difference between John and the Synoptics with regard to the timing of this story: 

-- Most scholars believe that the cleansing of the temple took place toward the end of Jesus' life, as reported in the Synoptics.  It makes sense there as the precipitating incident for the crucifixion.  This would also account for the abruptness of the transition from the Cana wedding story to the temple-cleansing story.  It seems unlikely that Jesus could come from nowhere to cleanse the temple without stirring more significant opposition than John records.  Also, the style of the Synoptics is quite different from the Gospel of John -- the Synoptics emphasizing more the history of Jesus' life and John emphasizing more the theology behind his life.  It would be more in character for John than for the Synoptics to move the story out of sequence, and it seems likely that he did so to establish important themes at the outset of his Gospel. 

-- Some scholars believe that John's sequence is correct and that the Synoptics moved the story to the end of Jesus' life to show why Jesus was crucified.

-- Still others have suggested that there were two cleansings of the temple, but this theory has not met with widespread acceptance.




13The Passover (Greek: pascha -- the word from which we get Paschal, as in Pascal lamb) of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple (Greek: hiero) he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove (Greek: exebalen) all of them out of the temple (Greek: hierou), both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house (Greek:  ton oikon tou patros mou -- the house of my Father)  a marketplace (Greek:  oikon emporiou -- a house of commerce)!" 17His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."

"The Passover of the Jews" (v. 13).  This peculiar phrase leads some to suggest that there might have been a corresponding Christian Passover in the early church, but there is no evidence to support that.  Christians have no reason to observe the Passover, because Christ, our paschal lamb, was sacrificed once and for all (1 Cor. 5:7).  It seems more likely that, by the time that this Gospel was written, the church included a great many Gentiles who might not understand the Jewish Passover.  Passover was celebrated on the 14th day of Nisan in accord with the provisions of Exod. 12, and was followed by the Festival of Unleavened Bread on 15-22 Nisan (Carson, 176).

"Jesus went up to Jerusalem" (v. 13).  Passover is the holiest of the pilgrimage feasts to which Jews come to make sacrifices at the temple.  People "go up to Jerusalem" in two senses:  First, Jerusalem is on a mountain, so they literally go up to get there.  Second, Jerusalem is the holy city, so a pilgrim would have a sense of going up into the presence of God. 

Jeremias estimates that the population of Jerusalem would swell from 50,000 to 180,000 for Passover (Howard-Brook, 83).  The strain on local resources to house and feed that number of people would be enormous.  The crowding at the temple would be near gridlock.

This is the first of three Passovers that John records (see also 6:4; 11:55ff).  It is possible that 5:1 refers to yet another Passover, but it is more likely a different festival.  The Synoptics record Jesus going to only one Passover at the end of his life.  It is largely on the basis of the record of three Passovers in John's Gospel that we believe that Jesus' ministry extended over a period of 2-3 years.

In the temple (Greek: hiero), Jesus finds sellers of animals and changers of money.  Such commerce is necessary, because people coming from afar cannot bring their own animals.  Only first-rate, unblemished animals are acceptable for sacrifice, and it would be difficult to maintain an animal in perfect condition even on a journey from nearby Galilee -- impossible for those coming from Rome or Egypt or other far away places. 

A money exchange is also required, because travelers bring coins from many nations and the Mishnah specifies that Tyrian coins be used for the temple tax (the Romans would not allow Jews to mint their own coins).  A number of scholars say that Roman coins were unsuitable because they bore images of Caesar and inscriptions regarding his deity.  However, Israel Abrahams says that Tyrian coins bore similar markings and suggests that it was the exceptional quality of the Tyrian coins (exact weights and high silver content) that made them acceptable (Morris, 170).

Those responsible for merchandising in the temple can also defend it by claiming that money generated by concessions is used to fund temple activities throughout the year.  We hear the same argument in the church today --  "It is for God," so it must be all right.

The hiero includes the whole temple complex, and these vendors are almost surely located in the Court of the Gentiles, the outer precincts of the temple.  Earlier, they were located in the Kidron Valley, but Epstein says that the high priest, Caiaphas, permitted his supporters to move their stalls to the temple as a way of a avenging himself against rivals in the Sanhedrin (Brown, 119).  If this is, indeed, the case, there are surely a large number of people offended by this commerce in the temple -- Caiaphas' rivals for sure, but also people offended by the unnecessary crowding and stink in the temple precincts.  Palmer notes that nobody moves to stop Jesus, probably because they are pleased to see him remove the offense from the temple area (Palmer, 38).  Imagine, though, how angry Caiaphas must be to have his authority so directly challenged.

Making a whip of cords, Jesus drives out (Greek: exebalen) the large animals from the temple.  We most frequently encounter this word, exebalen, in connection with exorcisms, where Jesus drives out demons. 

With over a hundred thousand pilgrims in the city to make their sacrifices at the temple, it seems likely that there would be hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sheep and cattle -- although poor people, of whom there were many, could sacrifice doves.  What comes to mind is an atmosphere like a street fair with dozens or hundreds of vendors, except that these vendors are feeding, grooming, and cleaning up after large animals instead of serving soda and hot dogs.  There is always danger that a crazed animal might break loose and desecrate the holiest parts of the temple.  The noise and smell would be overwhelming, and could not be walled off totally from the sanctuary.  In fairness, we must acknowledge that the sacrificial system as prescribed by Torah is a messy, bloody, smelly business, but the presence of these vendors in the temple exacerbates that by adding overcrowding and a commercial emphasis.

To those of us accustomed to buying our meat shrink-wrapped, using a whip to drive animals might seem cruel, but sheep and cattle have thick hides and minds of their own.  "For a single person to drive the thousands of sheep and cattle out of the Temple precincts… was not only an awesome act of prophetic boldness but also a miracle of movement amidst the overflowing Temple grounds"  (Howard-Brook, 83).  Jesus overturns the tables of the moneychangers, and commands the sellers of birds to take them away. 

In the Synoptics, Jesus criticizes the vendors for making the temple into a den of thieves, suggesting that the problem is their unethical business practices.  In the Gospel of John, however, Jesus criticizes not their ethical behavior but their very presence in "my Father's house."  He commands, "Stop making my Father's house (Greek:  ton oikon tou patros mou -- the house of my Father) a marketplace" (Greek:  oikon emporiou -- a house of commerce).  "The hieron is now called an oikos.  It is not only an area where people gather to worship God (hieron), but a place among men and women where the God of Israel, whom Jesus calls 'my Father,' has his dwelling (oikos)"  (Moloney, 77).

There is an allusion here to Zech. 14:21, "And there shall no longer be traders in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day."  This is the first time that Jesus identifies God as his Father, but the Jews who challenge him in v. 18 fail to pick up on this.

By his actions, "Jesus, a complete outsider to the power structure of the Temple, issues a challenge to the authority of the Temple that quite literally shakes its foundations.  Jesus throws the mechanics of temple worship in chaos, disrupting the temple system during one of the most significant feasts of the year so that neither sacrifices nor tithes could be offered that day" (O'Day, 545).

"The disciples remembered" (v. 17) -- after the resurrection, the disciples began to understand what had happened at the temple.  "Zeal for your house will consume me."  The words come from Psalm 69:9, where the Psalmist is lamenting the suffering that has resulted from his faithfulness to the Lord.  The Psalmist says, "has consumed me," but John changes that to "will consume me" to correspond to Jesus' circumstance.  "In quoting this psalm..., John provides readers with an important interpretive clue to the story of the story of the purification of the temple.  The ministry of this Jesus is going to be rooted in zeal for his Father's house, and this fervor is going to lead to alienation" (Johnston, 494).

"Observe that (Jesus') wrath was directed not against those engaged in or leading worship, but against those detracting from it....  That the action in the temple can be characterized as 'zeal for your house' suggests a positive attitude to the temple, and not one of total rejection" (Beasley-Murray, 39).


18The Jews then said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?" 19Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple (Greek:  naon -- sanctuary, Holy Place), and in three days I will raise it up." 20The Jews then said, "This temple (Greek: naos) has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?" 21But he was speaking of the temple (Greek:  naou) of his body. 22After 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.

"The Jews then said…"  In this Gospel, there are frequent references to Jews and Jewish.  In many cases, the references are neutral and on rare occasions positive (12:11), but "the Jews" will increasingly be identified as Jesus adversaries.

"What sign can you show us?" (v. 18).  This is not the response that we would expect if "the Jews" were convinced that Jesus was breaking the law.  It is apparent that they see the cleansing of the temple as a prophetic, possibly Messianic, act, and they expect prophets to perform miracles to authenticate their authority. Their question here seems more an invitation for Jesus to bring them on board than a hostile challenge -- although such an invitation can quickly turn hostile if unanswered.  Mark identifies these Jews as the chief priests and scribes (11:18), and tells us that they are plotting to kill Jesus  -- but keep in mind that the Synoptics locate the cleansing story at the end of Jesus' ministry and see it as the precipitating act for the crucifixion.

"Destroy this temple (Greek:  naon -- the temple sanctuary), and in three days I will raise it up" (v. 19).  In previous references to the temple, the word has been hiero, which refers to the whole temple complex.  Now Jesus uses the word naon, which refers to the temple sanctuary. 

Like much that happens in this Gospel, Jesus' words here can be taken on two levels.  "The word temple is used both for a religious shrine and for the 'body,' as in 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19.  The word for destroy is used both of the demolition of houses or temples and of the dissolution of the body; so also raise can be used of erecting a building, and in Christian use it constantly referred to the resurrection of the dead" (Howard, 499).

On the surface, it appears that Jesus is challenging these Jews to destroy the Herodian temple and offering to rebuild it in three days -- which is how they understand him.  In this Gospel, it is typical that Jesus' adversaries, and even his disciples, misunderstand him in this way.  These Jews, of course, could never bring themselves to accept this challenge -- to destroy the great building as a way of testing Jesus to see how he might replace it in three days.  The temple is the holy place where God dwells, and they could hardly imagine anyone destroying it (although the Romans will do so in 70 A.D.). They Synoptics record that, later, Jesus' adversaries will claim that he threatened to destroy the temple and to rebuild it in three days, but they will not agree on their testimony (Mark 14:58-59).  John's Gospel provides our only record of what he actually said.

But, of course, at the second level of meaning, Jesus is alluding to his death and resurrection.  It is his body that is the temple marked for destruction.  Even Jesus' own disciples will remain clueless about this second level of meaning until after the resurrection.  At that point, they will remember that he said this (v. 22). 

"The contrast is painfully clear.  A temple, built as a witness to God and as a means of drawing persons near to God, is now an object of adoration, an end in itself.  It is, therefore, ripe for destruction.  But in the throes of death and in a move toward self-preservation, the temple keepers will destroy the One in whom God and humankind meet?"  (Craddock, 155)

"This temple has been under construction for forty-six years" (v. 20).  Construction began under Herod the Great in 20 or 19 B.C., which means that Jesus' cleansing of the temple takes place in 27 or 28 A.D.  The majority of the work on the temple has been completed by this time, but refinements will continue until 63 A.D., only seven years before the Romans will destroy the temple.

"But he was speaking of the temple of his body" (v. 21).  In this Gospel, explanations are often offered as an aside to clarify misunderstandings to the reader (see 6:64, 71; 7:5, 39; 11:13, 51-52; 12:6, 33; 20:9).  It is Jesus body that will become "the living abode of God on earth, the fulfillment of all the temple meant, and the center of all true worship (over against all other claims of 'holy space', 4:20-24).  In this 'temple' the ultimate sacrifice (will) take place" (Carson, 182). 

"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" (v. 22).  During his ministry, Jesus will try to prepare his disciples for his passion, but they find the idea incomprehensible.  We should not judge them, because we, too, find it difficult to see a vision that is different from that which we are expecting.  At this point, the disciples are still looking for a warrior-king Messiah, and intimations of death and resurrection only confuse them.  Later, after the resurrection, the picture will suddenly come into focus for them.  They will believe "the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken."  The scripture is not identified, but is presumably Psalm 69:9.  It is interesting that John places "the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken" side by side, suggesting the great authority of Jesus' word.

TRUE STORY:      (Top of page)

See the story of Terry Anderson above.


The Sunday school teacher asked the children where God lives.  One little girl said, "God lives in heaven."  Another child said, "God lives in church."  But then little Johnny said, "God lives in our bathroom."

Puzzled, the teacher asked, "What makes you think that God lives in your bathroom?"

Johnny said, "Because every morning my father stands at the bathroom door and shouts, 'My God, are you still in there?' "

THOUGHT PROVOKERS:   (Top of page)

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.  Scenes from my life flashed across the sky.  In each I noticed footprints in the sand.  Sometimes there were two sets of footprints; other times there was only one. 

During the low periods of my life I could see only one set of footprints, so I said, "You promised me, Lord, that you would walk with me always.  Why, when I have needed you the most, have you not been there for me?"

The Lord replied, "The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

God is no distant deity but a constant reality,

a very present help whenever needs occur. 

So?  So live like it.  And laugh like it! 

The apostle Paul did. 

While he lived, he drained very drop of joy out of every day that passed.

-- Charles R. Swindoll in Laugh Again

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Dave Dravecky was a major league pitcher who learned that he had cancer in his pitching arm.  He had surgery, and tried a comeback.  While pitching in a big game, his arm broke with a loud crack when he threw the ball.  Surgeons had to amputate his throwing arm to save his life. 

Dravecky is a deeply committed Christian, and the Lord has opened up a significant ministry to handicapped persons in the years since his amputation.  Dravecky says:

"I have learned that God's silence to my questions

is not a door slammed in my face. 

I may not have answers.  But I do have him."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

In his essay on "Gospel" in his book, Wishful Thinking, Frederick Buechner says:

What is both Good and New about the Good News

is the mad insistence that Jesus lives on among us

not just as another haunting memory

but as the outlandish, holy, and invisible power of God

working not just through the sacraments

but in countless hidden ways

to make even slobs like us loving and whole

beyond anything we could conceivably pull off by ourselves.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

When we have met our Lord in the silent intimacy of our prayer,

then we will also meet him in the campo, in the market, and in the town square. 

But when we have not met him in the center of our own hearts,

we cannot expect to meet him in the busyness of our daily lives.

-- Henri J. M. Nouwen, Gracias!  A Latin American Journal

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

HYMNS:   Thanks to the Rev. Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, pastor of Allendale United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida for the hymns.


Baptist Hymnal (BH)

Chalice Hymnal (CH)

Collegeville Hymnal (CO)

Gather Comprehensive (GC)

JourneySongs (JS)

Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW)

Lutheran Worship (LW)

Presbyterian Hymnal (PH)

The Faith We Sing (TFWS)

The Hymnal 1982 (TH)

The New Century Hymnal (TNCH)

United Methodist Hymnal (UMH)

Voices United (VU)

With One Voice (WOV)

Ah, Holy Jesus (CH #210; LBW #123; PH #93; TH #158; TNCH #218; UMH #289; VU #138)

Beneath the Cross of Jesus (BH #291; CH #197; LBW #107; PH #92; TH #498; TNCH #190; UMH #297; VU #133)

Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation (BH #356; CH #275; CO #485; GC #662; JS #409; LBW #367; PH #416, 417; TH #518; TNCH #400; UMH #599; VU #325; WOV #747)

Lord of the Dance (CO #527; GC #708; JS #554; PH #302; TH #352; UMH #261; VU #352)

also known as I Danced in the Morning

Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days (CH #180; GC #392; JS #260; PH #81; TH #142; TNCH #211; UMH #269)

My Hope is Built (BH #406; CH #537; LBW #293, 294; LW #368; PH #349; TNCH #403; UMH #368)

O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High (LBW #88; LW #275; PH # 83; TH #448, 449; TNCH #209; UMH #267; VU #348)

O Crucified Redeemer (UMH #425)

O Young and Fearless Prophet (CH #669; UMH #444)

Wild and Lone the Prophet's Voice (PH #409, TFWS #2089)


We follow the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) and use Gospel texts for Sundays only.  The RCL tracks with the other major lectionaries most of the time, but there are occasional differences.

Lent 4B                 Mar 30                                  John 3:14-21

Lent 5B                 Apr 6                                    John 12:20-33

Palm Sunday         Apr 13                                  Mark 15:1-39, (40-47)

Easter                    Apr 20                                  John 20:1-18

Easter 2B              Apr 27                                  John 20:19-31

Easter 3B              May 4                                   Luke 24:36b-48


Barclay, William, The Daily Study Bible, "The Gospel of John," Vol. 1 (Edinburgh:  The Saint Andrew Press, 1955)

Beasley-Murray, George R., Word Biblical Commentary:  John (Nashville:  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999)

Brown, Raymond, The Anchor Bible:  The Gospel According to John I-XII (Garden City:  Doubleday, 1966)

Bruce, F. F., The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1983).

Brueggemann, Walter; Cousar, Charles B.; Gaventa, Beverly R. and Newsome, James D.,  Texts for Preaching:  A Lectionary Commentary Based on the NRSV--Year B (Louisville:  Westminster John Knox Press, 1993)

Carson, D. A., The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991).

Craddock, Fred R.; Hayes, John H.; Holladay, Carl R.; and Tucker, Gene M., Preaching Through the Christian Year B  (Valley Forge:  Trinity Press International, 1993)

Gossip, Arthur John and Howard, Wilbert F., The Interpreter's Bible, Volume 8 (Nashville:  Abingdon, 1952)

Howard-Brook, Wes, Becoming the Children of God:  John's Gospel and Radical Discipleship (New York:  Maryknoll, 1994).

Johnston, Scott Black in Van Harn, Roger (ed.), The Lectionary Commentary:  Theological Exegesis for Sunday's Text.  The Third Readings:  The Gospels  (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 2001)

Moloney, Francis J., Sacra Pagina:  The Gospel of John (Collegeville:  The Liturgical Press, 1998)

Morris, Leon, The New International Commentary on the New Testament:  The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995).

O'Day, Gail R., The New Interpreter's Bible, Volume IX (Nashville:  Abingdon, 1995)

Palmer, Earl F., The Book That John Wrote (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 1975)

Sloyan, Gerald, "John," Interpretation (Atlanta:  John Knox Press, 1988)

Smith, D. Moody, Jr., Abingdon New Testament Commentaries:  John (Nashville:  Abingdon, 1999)

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