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Jesus Clears the Temple

October 19, 2009

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.

Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.     John 2:12-25

First, Some Christians believe Mary was a virgin her whole life. Verse 12 should clear that question up.

There are many problems with what was going on in the Temple Courts when Jesus arrived. The Israelites were to sacrifice a Lamb from there own herd. They were to choose a lamb without defect and care for it several days before they offered it as a sacrifice. The lamb would often become like a pet to the family. Then they were to travel with the Lamb to Jerusalem to offer it as a sacrifice. The passover was supposed to involve an actual personal sacrifice.  Instead the Israelites were going to the temple and conveniently purchasing a lamb at the temple courts.

Secondly, those running the “market” in the Temple Courts were cheating the Israelites. It would be like us going to disney world and paying the very inflated prices for a soft drink and a hamburger. That is what was going on.  And worse, the poor were being squeezed out by the high prices.

But perhaps the worst thing of all is that this “market” was in the one place that Gentiles who were seeking God could gather to worship. The Temple was arranged with the Most Holy Place (where the Presence of God was) Only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place and he could only enter one time each year on the Day of Atonement. The Next room was the Holy place where priests could offer sacrifices. Next was the room where the Jewish men could gather to worship. Then there was the room where the Jewish women could worship. Last of all was the one place where Gentiles could gather to worship. Gentiles who were seeking God. Imagine their first impression when they arrived at the place of worship and found a marketplace were businessmen were cheating their customers.

Are we cheating God when we meet for worship? Do we properly prepare ourselves for worship? Are our sacrifices truly sacrificial? Do we devote time to Bible Study and Prayer. Let’s avoid being like those conducting dishonest business in the Temple Courts.

The Jewish Leaders wanted a sign showing Jesus’ authority to cleanse the temple (A nice way to say he overturned tables and drove those in the “marketplace” out with a whip). Jesus said if you destroyed the Temple that he would raise it in three days. He was speaking of his own body. After his resurrection his followers finally understood what he was talking about. Today God does not dwell in a temple made by hands, he dwells with the hearts of his people. Let’s keep our selves pure. Lets offer ourselves as Living Sacrifices since we are the body of Christ.

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