Cleansing of the Temple
Text: John 2:13-25
I. Under Jewish Law, all adult males were required to travel to Jerusalem three times a year for special feasts. One of these was the Passover
A. By noting Jesus’s attendance at the Passover feasts, we can measure the length of his ministry, which was just over 3 years.
II. What Jesus found was quite upsetting to him
A. The outer courts of the temple had been turned into a money making operation.
1. People had to travel long distances and bringing a sacrifice was not usually practical, so the animal to be offered was sold for cash which was then brought to Jerusalem.
2. However, the local Jews had made a rule that the Temple would not accept non-Jewish funds and all sacrifices had to be bought with Jewish funds.
3. Moneychangers would exchange foreign coins for Jewish coins, for a fee.
4. Local merchants would sell sacrificial animals, but charge more than the going rate.
5. It this wasn’t bad enough, they moved their operation into the temple itself, for convenience.
a. Showing approval by the Jewish religious leaders.
b. Possibly they received rent for the space.
B. Jesus made a scourge (a set of knotted ropes) and drove the moneychangers, the merchants, and the animals out of the temple. He overturned their tables poured their coins on the ground.
1. He justified his actions by pointing out their sin.
2. The action fulfilled a prophesy
3. Too often we have a limited view of Christ.
a. We see him as a meek, gentle man, which he was.
b. We fail to realize that like all of us, Jesus was much more complex.
4. Anger is not wrong. Uncontrolled anger is wrong.
a. James 1:19-20 - Slow to anger.
b. Ephesians 4:26 - Angered without sin. Short duration.
C. What is interesting is that no one stopped him.
1. They understood that what was being done was wrong.
III. Afterwards, Jesus was challenged as to his right or authority to take matters into his own hands.
A. They demanded a sign to show that he was acting on God’s behalf.
B. Jesus said “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
1. Being in the temple at the time, it is understandable that the people thought Jesus was speaking of the physical temple.
a. This temple was built by Herod over a period of 46 years.
b. The thought of Jesus rebuilding such a building in 3 days was ridiculous.
2. However, as often happens, Jesus was speaking of something else – his own physical body.
a. The proof from God would be the fact that Jesus would be resurrected 3 days after his death.
b. Even his own disciples did not understand Jesus’ words until after the resurrection. Then the light of understanding went off.
IV. While Jesus did not satisfy the Jew’s demand for a sign to show his authority, Jesus did perform signs in Jerusalem while he stayed for the feast.
A. Many believed as a result.
B. However, Jesus, knowing the hearts of men, did not put his trust in these men of Jerusalem.
1. It was not time for his death and Jesus knew that he had to act prudently while in Jerusalem.
2. This statement too is a testimony to the fact that Jesus is God, for only God can know the mind of men - Jeremiah 17:10
V. The reason for this account in John
A. It shows that Jesus understood the nature and thoughts men
B. It shows that Jesus fulfilled prophecy concerning the Messiah
C. It showed where Jesus priority was