John 2:13-17 (NIV) 13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 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. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
On verses 13-17: Here we read of Jesus going to Jerusalem, visiting the temple courts and driving out those who had turned the temple courts into a marketplace.
What can we learn from this?
1. As followers of Jesus and worshipers of God, we must be careful not to use the house of God and our community of fellow worshipers primarily as a way to make a profit for ourselves. Otherwise we turn the house of God from a place of worship into a marketplace.
2. Jesus was passionate for the house of God and was willing to make tough, unpopular choices in order to maintain health in the house of God, even if that meant driving certain people out. It reminds me that sometimes before Jesus can add significant numbers of people to His Father’s house, Jesus needs to make some blessed deletions first, getting rid of whatever or whoever is distracting the people in God’s house from accomplishing its purpose and mission.
3. In verse 17 John quotes a famous phrase from David, who wrote in Psalm 69:9, “zeal for your house consumes me”. Just as David was passionate for the house of God where his people worshiped, just as Jesus was passionate for the house of God, may we have the right attitude toward the house of God. May we not simply use the house of God for our own selfish gain, but may we love our church, be devoted to our church, serve our church, and protect our church with passionate devotion.
John 2:18-22 (NIV) 18 Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” 20 The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 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.
On verses 18-22: Here we see Jesus predicting his death and resurrection, although the people thought he was talking about the physical temple where the Jews worshiped. Jesus cites his death and resurrection as the reason why Jesus has authority to clear the temple of money changers and money-hungry merchants.
What can we learn from this? Because Jesus died for our sins and rose from the grave, Jesus has authority unlike anyone who has not risen from the grave. Because Jesus rose from the grave, Jesus has authority that we can trust and follow.
Also, notice that Jesus called his body a temple. That is because Jesus is God in the flesh and thus God’s Spirit lived inside Jesus’ human body. In a similar vein, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) in that the Holy Spirit lives in us. In our case that doesn’t mean we are God; rather we have the Spirit of God living in us.
John 2:23-25 (NIV) 23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25 He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.
On verses 23-25: While many trusted in Jesus (v23), Jesus would not entrust himself to them (v24) “for he knew what was in a man” (v25). In other words, Jesus would not put his hope in people because Jesus knew that people are broken, imperfect, and prone to sin. Likewise, serve people, love people, enjoy people, work with people and be a blessing to people, but don’t put your hope in people. Instead, put your hope in the Lord, who alone is faithful. As Psalm 130:7 says, “O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.”
Lord Jesus, I pray that I would have the right attitude toward the house of God, my church – not simply using it for my own selfish gain, but loving Your house, protecting Your house, serving Your house, being devoted to Your house. Since You died and rose again, You have authority unlike any other. May I trust in You and place my hope in You alone. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!