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Our temple cleaned, This week we are going to study John 2:13-25. So, let’s read the passage, “The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple, he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore 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. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” John 2:13-25
In this passage, Jesus goes to Jerusalem for the first time in His public ministry, for Passover which He attended every year and mostly in Jerusalem, as was required by the Law (Exodus 23:17). We can almost be certain that this was not the first time there had been merchants and commerce happening in the temple, while Jesus was there. It was the first time since His baptism and since He had begun His public ministry. This is why He had not driven out the merchants and money changers before this point. One reason Jesus did this was that it was prophesied that He would clean the temple in Maliach 3:1 and Psalms 69:9.
Another reason He did this was that it needed to be done, because the temple had become a house of trade. Which is obvious when looking at this passage we see that the priests who had their own temple guards (Luke 22:52), which they arguably could have stopped (John 19:11) Jesus from kicking out the merchants. But they did not, which shows that they could see that there was corruption in the temple. The merchants probably got a license to sell in the temple from the Chief Priest. They probably started off with a little price gouging, when compared to the prices that were charged outside the temple. Then they slowly started marking up and marking up to see what they could get away with without getting kicked out. They probably started giving out certificates that the product was perfect for sacrificing. Then they may have even started to try to convince those who brought their own sacrifice that theirs was defective, so that they would need a new one. The corruption was pretty obvious to anyone who came into the temple. They probably did not even care why they were there, but rather only what they bought and it is likely that on top of the taxes that the priest also received a considerable sum from all sales in the temple.
Jesus knew what was in the hearts of the priest, merchants, and money changers. He knew without even seeing the corruption of the temple. So, what Jesus did was not mean and His anger was righteous and it needed to be done. Is it wrong to sell stuff in our modern churches as some do? I think it depends on your motives. We also have to remember that the temple was where God dwelled, up until the veil was torn when Jesus died. Making God’s dwelling place men’s hearts, for all who would receive Him. Our bodies are now the temple, we have to remember that if you are a Christian you are the temple, not the church building, it is just a place of meeting where God only dwells if we are gathered there in His name. It is the body of the church that is more comparable to the temple, than the building of the church. When Jesus comes into our lives, He does not just want to dwell with everything else that has made residence in our hearts, He wants to drive everything out that is not of Him. But just like the priest, we have the power to stop Him from kicking them all out. We may try to smuggle one thing in and hide it in the back of our hearts. He knows your entire heart and you cannot hide anything from Him.
When thinking about Jesus driving out everything that is in our hearts that is not of Him, if you do not fill it with things of Him, then the ones that were driven out will return and will bring with it seven worse than it (Matthew 12:43-45). If the priest did not fill the temple with things of God, then the men who were running the shops and money changing stations would go out and talk to their friends looking for a job and then the more corrupt would come and fill the stalls where the others were. Whereas, if the priest decided not to allow them back in and put God there, then when the seven worse came to put up their stands, they would not find a place and would be kicked out by the temple guards. The same is true in our hearts when Jesus comes in and drives out our old sinful behaviors and habits and anything that is not of Him, we need to fill those places in our hearts with things of Him and when the habits come back to find a place in our hearts, they will have no place and the Guard of our hearts will kick them out.
In the passage, the Jews were stirred up and asked Jesus what sign He gave them for driving the merchants out. He did not immediately give them a sign, but He did perform miracles in Jerusalem and many believed in Him because of them. In other words, what the Jews were asking was who gave Him the authority to do anything in their temple. This shows you right there what their god was; it was not God in the flesh standing right in front of them, they were saying this was their temple not Gods’, they were their own gods. This is the same thing that many of you want to think about your own body/temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) that it is your own, when it is not, what authority do you have over it? You cannot control anything, a microscopic organism shut down the whole world. How long will it take you to realize your life is not your own, it is a gift that we can squander or use for a greater glory for His kingdom.
Jesus tells the Jews in response to their question that they can destroy this Temple and that He would rebuild it in three days. They said that it was not possible, they did not realize that they were talking to the one who holds the whole world together (Colossians 1:17) and created everything both seen and unseen in 6 days (Genesis 1). Rebuilding even the temple that took 46 years to build, would be a breeze for Him. But, that was not the temple He was talking about, He was talking about His body which they would kill, which He would raise from the dead three days after being killed. Which is great news for us because in dying, He gave us the way to live forever with Him, taking the punishment for our sin forever. If you would like to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life.
So, this week ask God to come and clean your temple/heart to drive/take all that is not of Him out of your temple/heart. Remember also that He knows your heart, which is both an amazing and a terrifying thought, you cannot hide anything from Him, we all try, but none of us ever succeed. He is the King of all and loves you more than anyone ever could, but He is just (Deuteronomy 32:4) and wants you to come to know Him as your Lord and Savior. So make sure you have done that today, it is the most important decision you will ever make.
Check out the other blog in this series A Study through the Gospel of John