Read John 2:13-24, Jesus Cleanses the Temple
Sin Inside The Temple
So the people selling animals in the temple, and the people changing out currency were taking advantage of the situation. If you traveled to Jerusalem for Passover, and you showed up with a sacrificial animal, it had to be without blemish. The priests were the ones who decided if it was acceptable or not. Well guess what, it was usually found to be unacceptable. But, conveniently located right here in the temple we happen to be selling pre-approved animals for sacrifice–for an exorbitant price. And, you have to pay for the animal with the temple currency. We can exchange your cash for our currency, in fact we have money changers right here in the temple standing by, but, it will cost you.
Providing a means of exchanging currency and providing animals for the Passover sacrifice was a good thing, but overcharging wasn’t. It was a sin. It was a sin found right there inside God’s temple. And Jesus, out of love for his Father’s house, turned the tables on those taking advantage of the people. He took action.
The religious leadership of his day asked Jesus: What sign can you show us to demonstrate you have the authority to cleanse the temple like this?
Jesus said: Destroy this temple, and in three days I’ll raise it up.
Can A Temple Contain God?
Everybody thought Jesus was talking about the temple building they were standing in at the time Jesus made that statement. But when Solomon built the original temple he said to God, “Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built!” (2 Chronicles 6:18) Jesus wasn’t speaking of the building when he said he’d raise the temple in three days, he was speaking of his own body, his own resurrection. As Solomon said, a building can’t contain God, but Jesus can. God was in him. God was inside the temple of Jesus’ body.
And God is inside the temple of your body too. The scriptures tell us plainly, “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own…” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
“You are not your own,” God tells us. You are God’s. You are like that temple in Jerusalem. Jesus called it “my Father’s house.” That’s how it is for you. You belong to your Father in heaven. You’re the temple of God’s Holy Spirit. And here’s the thing: Jesus loved God’s temple in Jerusalem so much that he cleaned it out, and in a similar way, he loves me so much that he’ll clean me out too. And he loves you so much he’ll clean you out also.
What Every Parent Wants
I’ve never met a parent who didn’t want to “clean” their children. Every parent wants that. Believers and unbelievers alike want that for their young kids. Every child rebels, and disobeys, and sins. And every loving father and every loving mother, in love, disciplines their kids to remove the rebellion, disobedience, and sin from their children, because they want their kids to grow and mature and to live their best possible life. For our kids to live their best life they need to grow and mature. For growth and maturation to happen in young children some “cleaning” is sometimes necessary.
After he cleansed the temple we read in our passage that, “many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus… did not entrust himself to them…” (John 2:23-24) If you’re reading this blog post you’re probably not in this category, but many Christians feel similarly toward Jesus as those who chased after the signs. They want salvation, and they want whatever else Jesus can provide for them, but they don’t want to let Jesus inside to clean them out. They want to retain ownership of themselves. They don’t want to surrender themselves to whatever Jesus might have in mind for them. They want total control over their own temple.
But God loves them anyway. And “the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:6) Sometimes he does a little cleaning–and that’s a good thing.
Embrace it. Give thanks for it.
Surrender yourself to Him completely.
Surrender, because: you are not your own.
(You might also like: Love Like Jesus–God First: John 2:14-15)
[Image via Tom Page – Creative Commons]
Indeed our Savior was in human flesh when He was here, and when He rebuked the moneychangers or the Pharisees I am certain the He didn’t sweet talk them. In fact, He rebuked them on more than one occasion, and harshly at that, for He came into the world as “THE Prophet”. Prophets don’t sugar coat rebukes. He was incensed with them for adding to His Word and taking away from His Word as we see in Matthew:
Mat 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat [they purport to have Moses’ authority]:
Mat 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe [of Moses], that observe and do; but do not ye after their works [the takanot and ma’asim of the Pharisees]: for they say, and do not.
Mat 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
What He had in mind for His Believers in that day was revealed in verse 3 to do what Moses said to do, which the Pharisees didn’t do; rather they were adding to His Word and causing the people to be burdened. That still goes on today unfortunately through Rabbinic Judaism and in myriads of denominations.
Out of Messiah’s mouth:
Joh 5:45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one accusing you, Moses, in whom you have hoped.
Joh 5:46 For if you were believing Moses, you would then believe Me; for that one wrote concerning Me.
Sin is still lurkng inside human temples/churches as well as human bodies. But if we walk in the Spirit of the Living God, we will neither fulfill the lusts of the flesh, nor experience His spankings. We were paid for, a huge price–His death on the Roman Cross, should we fulfill the lusts of the flesh or fulfill the works of His Spirit? I vote for the works of His Spirit, may Yehovah’s Spirit continue to spank us when we need it. He is Good ALL the time!