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The Clearing of the Temple (John 2:11-17)

(This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days. Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise. Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”) ~John 2:11-17.

Last week I wrote about Jesus changing water into wine and showed you how this miracle was a miracle of creation showing that this man Jesus of Nazareth was in fact the creator Himself, no man can create only God can create. And here beginning with the first sign done by Jesus showing that He was the Messiah, that He was Immanuel (God with us). And here in verse 11 the scripture tells us that His disciples (His followers) believed in Him. Verse 12 said that He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples left Cana and went to Capernaum. Capernaum was on the Sea of Galilee and it was here and around here that Jesus did much of His teaching to His disciples during the three years of His earthly ministry. Verse 13 tells us that the Passover of the Jews was at hand and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the appointed place by God for the Passover lamb to be sacrificed, and it is the sight where the true Passover Lamb provided by God Himself would be sacrificed three years later, the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ.

The Israelites were held in bondage in the land of Egypt, God had a plan that He told through Moses to rescue them out of Egypt. After Pharaoh had refused to let the Israelites leave after many miracles had been done by God through the hand of Moses. God told Moses to have every two households sacrifice a lamb and to put the blood of the lamb over the door post. God sent the Angel of death into the land of Egypt and commanded him to take the life of the first of everyone in the land of Egypt except for those with the blood of the lamb over the door post, the angel of death would Passover these homes. Once the Israelites had left Egypt God told Moses that they were to remember this and celebrate this event every year and it would go on for a week. For seven days they were to eat unleavened bread and on the seventh day they were to sacrifice an unblemished lamb in the place of God’s choosing, which Jerusalem was, and Jesus came for this Passover Festival.

Verse 14 tells us that Jesus came into the temple and He saw merchandising going on in the temple, animals being sold, money being exchanged. If you will read through the book of Leviticus you will get some understanding of the sacrificial system of Jerusalem, but like man always does it was corrupt. A sin offering was either a bull or unblemished lamb. For many a Jew it was a long journey to Jerusalem, many days by foot, where they were to make there atoning sacrifice. So it would be difficult to haul an animal all of that distance and then finally get to the temple and have the animal turned away as unworthy for a sacrifice. All sacrifices had to be inspected by and approved of by a Temple Priest, it had become such that if you wanted your sacrifice to be found worthy you had to buy it from the Temple and in order to buy it from the Temple you had to use the temple money which meant that you had to exchange the money you had earned at a high fee for the Temple money and then purchase an animal for sacrifice.

Verse 15 and 16 tells us that Jesus made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the Temple with their animals and pouring out the money and overturning the tables and telling the ones who sold doves “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise.” People that don’t know Jesus and haven’t really followed Him try to paint Him as this meek mannered nice guy. He was anything but; He was unlike any man ever to have lived. Most people take advantage of the weak and flee a bully. Jesus did the exact opposite, He would always give grace to the humble heart that admitted that they were a sinner and didn’t want to be, and to the self-righteous who thought they were good He would come down on them like a hammer. No one before or since could give a lashing like Jesus. Can you see this scene, one man with a whip of cords causes this much destruction runs off all the animals and there owners. Then He pours out the changers money and overturns their tables, can you imagine the fight one man would put up over his money much less many men and realize that it was one Man doing all this.

Why did this so anger Him? Because they were using God’s word and His house for sin. They were using God’s word and His house to steal from the people. How could you do this except for unbelief, how could anyone do this and not believe that they would have to answer to God for this. The wrath of God came upon them quickly in the God Man Jesus Christ. He is returning and when He returns He will not deal with sinners so easily. All will give an account of their life to God wither they believe in Him or not, so repent today and put your faith alone in Jesus Christ. This Passover and the incident in the Temple and the Passover three years later where Jesus would once again run the merchandisers off from the Temple bracket His public ministry.

God Bless you all,
Mike Peek

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