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Jesus clears the Temple
John 2:12-25

Scripture reading: Psalm 69

This morning we are going to begin a 5 week study in the Gospel of John

-The Gospel is thought to have been written by John-- also known as the beloved disciple, who finished up his days on the isle of Patmos-- the only disciple to die of natural causes
-The Gospel dates to somewhere between 70-90 A.D
-Ten of the 21 chapters of John are devoted to the last week of Jesus' life. 1/3 of the Gospel's verse are devoted to one day of Jesus' life
-Structurally, the Gospel of John features things in sevens-- which symbolizes divine completeness-- i.e: Jesus makes 7 I AM statements (all claims to him being God), John draws our attention to 7 of Jesus' miraculous signs (all intended to lead his readers into believing in Jesus as Savior and Lord and recorded for us in John 1-11), there are 7 discourses in the Gospel of John
-John had one purpose in writing the Gospel of John; that those who read it may come to conclusion that Jesus is the only Savior and only Lord and that they may turn to him in faith and repentance for eternal life.

The key verses of The Gospel of John

John 20:30-31says; "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

For our first study, please turn with me to John 2:12-25

In this particular passage we will see Jesus, filled with zeal, going through the temple courts, swinging a whip, overturning the tables of the moneychangers, and driving out sheep, cattle, and forcefully declaring "How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

Some questions

-Why was Jesus so incensed?
-What right did Jesus have to do what he did?
-Did Jesus clear the temple once or twice during his ministry?
-How did this incident help build the faith of his disciples?

To properly this text we need to read the entire chapter. READ John 2:1-25


1. His cleansing of the Temple coincided with the celebration of the Passover

The occasion for Jesus going to Jerusalem was the great celebration of the Passover-- a yearly remembrance, commanded by God, of God's great and miraculous deliverance of the Jews from 400 years of captivity and bondage in Egypt.

As we reviewed last week, on the night he was betrayed Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples, giving new meaning to it's symbols and revealing that the Passover found its ultimate fulfillment in Him and the cross--- For on the cross Jesus died as the Lamb of God, the once for all sacrifice for sin, that whoever looks to him in faith and repentance may have the forgiveness of sins and peace with God, not fearing the judgment to come-- for they will be passed over on that day because they are Jesus.

2. Jesus cleared the Temple twice in his ministry. This is the first. Compare John 2 with Mark 11:15-19

Once at the beginning of his ministry, one more time - during the last week of his life. It is clear from John's account that this cleansing took place at the beginning, just as it is clear in the other Gospel's that Jesus did so again at the end of his public ministry.

3. Jesus rightfully cleansed the Temple-- for it was meant to be a house of prayer for all nations

Jesus had every right to fashion a whip out of cords and to drive the moneychangers and animal sellers out of the Temple.-- In fact, any devout person had the right to do so (though Jesus was the only brave enough to to do so)

-The Temple was built to be a house of prayer and worship for all nations. Isaiah 56:7
-God presenced Himself in a special way in the Temple-- Hence the building served as a symbol of God being in the midst of His people
-The Temple was the place for the sacrifice of animals for worship and the people's sins
-In it's day, the Temple was the most important place and building on Earth

By their actions: The chief priests and the teachers of the law defiled the Temple by allowing money changers and animal sellers into the Temple grounds-- situating them in the court of the Gentiles (the only place non Jews were allowed to go to pray and worship God). These money changers and animal sellers basically robbed the people and made a mockery of the worship of God. Note: in days gone by you could bring your own animals or purchase them in the Kidron Valley on the slopes of the Mount of Olives.

4. Jesus' cleansing of the Temple fulfilled Psalm 69:9 and led to His death on the cross v.17

Somehow, in the midst of Jesus cleansing the Temple a Bible verse popped into their heads from a tough to understand passage.

In Psalm 69 David pours out his heart as it regards great opposition that he faced for his love for the Lord and the proper worship of God saying "For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. I am a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my own mother's sons; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me." Psalm 69:7-9

When Jesus disciples saw Jesus cleansing the Temple the verse "Zeal for your house consumes me" came into their minds--building their trust in the Scriptures and their faith in Jesus.

A special comment on the phrase: "Zeal for your house will Consume me"

The text can also be written "Zeal for for thy house shall destroy me"

Such was fulfilled in Christ, whose passion for His Father's house led to his death---

Note what Matthew 26:59-63 says; "The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward 61 and declared, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'" 62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" 63 But Jesus remained silent.

Side note: Jesus' statement about destroying the temple and raising it again in three days was one of the most remembered things Jesus said-- misunderstood, but definitely remembered

5. The boldness of Jesus, the zeal of Jesus, and the concern of Christ for pure and holy worship is to be copied by us

Romans 12:11 says; "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."

A holy fire needs to burn in us for the things of Christ- a fire kindled by the Scriptures, by our love for others, by our concern for those who are perishing in their sins, for holiness and what is right.

6. By his cleansing of the Temple he revealed his DIVINE nature v.16,19

In 2 ways in this text Jesus indicates His Divine nature

"My Father's house"

-By this phrase Jesus claiming a distinct relationship with God the Father, He's making a claim to be the Son of God
-No Jew ever spoke like this (we speak like this by the invitation of God who calls us, who are the followers of Christ, His children)
-later, when Jesus speaks of God as His Father, going so far as to say "I and the Father are one", the Jews pick up stones that they may kill Jesus, for they understood that he was claiming to be God when He spoke in such terms (John 10:25-30)

I will "Destroy this temple, I will raise it again in three days" v.19

While those demanding a sign of Jesus thought he was referring to the literal Temple, Jesus was actually prophetically speaking of his death and resurrection-- His resurrection from the dead served as the greatest sign and confirmation that He was God, that He was Messiah, that He was everything He claimed to be.

An good Scripture to remember about Jesus and his resurrection

In John 10:17-18 Jesus says; "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

7. Jesus' greatest miracle was His rising from the dead

As you may have noticed, the Gospel of John is built on pointing us to Jesus' miracles, with the goal that we would put our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord.

As just noted, Jesus' resurrection from the dead served as the greatest sign and confirmation that he was God

Here in our passage Jesus responds to the Jews demand for a sign by promising them the greatest sign of all

If you want to learn more about Jesus' resurrection, read 1 Corinthians 15-16 for starters or the end of every Gospel. Also note that Jesus' resurrection served as a key preaching point to the preaching of Jesus' disciples.

8. Jesus' cleansing of the Temple strengthened His disciples faith in Him and the Scriptures v.22

Of all the big things that came out of Jesus cleansing the Temple at the beginning of his ministry, one most critical things was the increase in the faith of Jesus' disciples (An immediate strengthening and later on after He rose)

When I first read this passage the thing that grabbed my attention was v.22 which says "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"

Some thoughts

There is a link between a person's faith in Jesus and their confidence in the Scriptures

-a high view of Jesus and a high view of His Word go hand in hand

TRUST YOUR BIBLE. Read it confidently. It is the Word of God. BELIEVE IN JESUS


Have faith in God. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.