Friday, January 27, 2012

John 2:12-17

After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (John 2:12-17)

What a contrast in scenes in this chapter! In Cana we saw a very quiet Jesus unobtrusively performing his first miracle at a celebration. Then, in this next scene in Jerusalem, Jesus went on a rampage, overturning tables and using a whip to clear the temple court of money changers who were ripping off the people. The disciples must have been alarmed to see this other side of the Gentle Carpenter! But the reality is that while God is surely a God of love, He is also holy, holy, holy. And His holiness requires righteous judgment.

How offended Jesus must have been to see these men hawking animals for sacrifice in the very place where His Father should have been honored and glorified. The temple had four courts, and the outer court, where these money changers did their business, was the court of the Gentiles. This was the only place Gentiles were allowed. It was a place where they should have been drawn to God. This was where they should have witnessed the glory and power of Jehovah God. Instead, it had become a corrupt marketplace, where money changers would defraud those who had come to offer sacrifices to God. Worshippers would be told that the animals that they had brought were blemished and not good enough to offer for sin. So they were forced to buy the animals from these merchants.

Courson says that up to this point we have only seen Jesus as the Lamb of God, but in this scene He shows Himself as the Lion of Judah! When we turn to Christ, He is going to cleanse our temples as well. Whatever is offensive to His Holiness must go! He will not be satisfied until He has overturned every area in our lives that is held by sin. What would He find in our temples? Would He want to overturn our TV viewing habits? Would He take a whip to our tongues that wag in gossip? Would He scatter our pride, our tempers, our bitterness, the grudges we are keeping? And what kind of witness are we displaying in our outer courts? Do those who don’t know God feel drawn to Him or shocked by what they see in us?

As we cluck our tongues in disgust over the money changers, let’s remember that we are the temple of God. His Holy Spirit lives in us! What about our own temples needs to be cleansed? The good news is that Jesus is just the One to cleanse us!  "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us ours sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."  (1 John 1:9)  PHEW!


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