John 2: 13-25 The Cleansing of the Temple
We have been looking at 5 Ways of living life. The Way of: The Law, The World, Self, Satan, and The Way of Grace and Truth. I believe that 4 of the Ways lead to and create the Wilderness of Sin. Jesus’ Way of “grace and truth” is the Way to “life”. Read again John 1: 17. “The Law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came though Jesus Christ.”
Paul says that the Law that came through Moses is a disciplinarian or tutor. (Galatians 3:24) Therefore , the Law given through Moses reveals our sinful human-nature: We may know the 10 Commandments, understand the commandments, and apply the commandments to our lives, but we cannot keep them. We break them and even make petty excuses for our actions. Ask what it means to “honor your mother and father!” Listen to how many different answers you get. Admit it, we will use our answers to judge our neighbor and ourselves. Our ways are not God’s Way. Our attempt to be obedient to the Law, and our turmoil about breaking it proves God’s purpose in giving the Law. It is our disciplinarian. It prepares us to receive God’s WAY of “grace and truth.”
Jesus “truth” is that God will give us another advocate. The Law is the first advocate. The Law bring us before God. The second advocate is the Holy Spirit that reminds us of everything Jesus taught. The Holy Spirit leads us to grace through our faith in Jesus Christ. My faith is in Jesus’ power to over come suffering and death and rise again on the third day. Thus, I must deny myself and my power and thereby trust in His power.
Thus the Law has power through our obedience to its discipline to bring us before God – convicted Sinners. The Holy Spirit has power to set us free from the power of the Law so that we might live the Way of “grace and truth.” (Read the 14th Chapter of John.)
How can you do the same things as Jesus? The answer is faith in the power of Holy Spirit to fulfill the Promises of God, just as He revealed through Jesus’ Life and Ministry. To participate in this faith we are called to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Jesus…to Offer Jesus!
In the stories of Jesus turning water into wine, the cleansing of the temple, and Nicodemus’ visit with Jesus we are observing signs of the Law given through Moses being transformed into the Grace of Truth of Jesus Christ.
The mistake made by many people is to dismiss the Law. To say we have no need of it. Here, I lean on Matthew 5:17-20. Jesus came to fulfill the Law. Are you willing to allow the Law to be your disciplinarian? Will you study the Law, submit to it through obedience? Will you “deny yourself” when you trespass on God’s Law? Will you repent? Will you confess your Sin? Will you let the judgement of the Law have its full effect? Yes, it causes suffering! Then, will you actually listen to Jesus’ way of “grace and truth.”
“Father, forgive them they do not know what they are doing?” Do you have faith in the power of Jesus’ righteous –judgment? Do you see the “truth” of John 3:17? Jesus did not come to condemn! He came to save! We do not know what we are doing, but He does!
A couple of questions to consider about the Cleansing of the Temple.
- Why did Jesus drive the cattle and sheep out of the temple but demand that the doves be carried out?
- The Priest sacrificed a bull for forgiveness.
- The Priest sacrificed sheep for the forgiveness of the nation’s sin.
- Rich people brought their best sheep to the Priest to be offered as a sacrifice for sin.
- The poor brought a dove to the Priest to be offered as a sacrifice for sin.
- How does God feel about the poor?
- The sacrifice is part of God’s discipline. Do you think God wants the sacrifice to please him or is it to get your attention so He might reveal the truth? Isn’t the Great Commandment about your heart, soul, and mind, not your worldly sacrifices?
- What is the true temple? Is it a building that had been under construction for 46 years, or is it Jesus’ Body?
- Is you body, heart, soul, mind, and strength the temple of God? What must you deny to Follow Jesus to Offer Jesus?
- What are some of the physical things you have been taught to give to God? Time, money, wearing my best… How are these things like cattle, sheep, and doves?