Serve & Trust Jesus Even When You Don't Understand

Sometimes we don’t see what God is doing and it makes no sense to us. Kind of like the following joke.
The following is a great exercise for people who are out of shape: Begin with a five-pound potato bag in each hand. Extend your arms straight out from your sides, hold them there for a full minute, and then relax. After a few weeks, move up to ten-pound potato bags. Then try 50-pound potato bags, and eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-pound potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. Once you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag.

Historical/Cultural Context -

The Gospel of John was written between 90 AD and 100 AD. Scholars also believe that John wrote the three Epistles and the book of Revelation around the same time-frame as he wrote this Gospel. The Gospel of John was written after Matthew, Mark, & Luke had been written and circulated. John has been dubbed by most scholars as “The Spiritual Gospel.”

Biblical Text -

John 2:13–25 NKJV
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.” So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.


Life Principle - Make Sure You’re Serving Jesus & Not You While Trusting Him When Nothing Makes Sense To You.

Life Point- Make Sure You’re Serving Jesus & Not Your Own Interests.

Exegetical -

John 2:13–17 NLT
It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”

Homiletical -

There were about three times a year that a male Jew was expected to go to the temple. The Passover is one of them. This would have been around April 14.
So Jesus goes to the Jewish celebration of the passover. One commentator pointed out that it is interesting that John calls it a Jewish Passover and not the Lord’s Passover and we will see why here in a minute, but basically it was no longer God’s Passover because of what the Jews had done to it.
In the outer court of the Temple Jesus sees merchants selling cattle, sheep and doves for sacrifices. He also saw foreign money exchangers.
Why were they here?
In the Old Testament there was many kinds of sacrifices that needed to be made for different kinds of reasons. There are five main sacrifices found in the Old Testament. The burnt offering, the grain offering, the peace offering, the trespass offering, and the sin offering.
Each one of these called for a different kind of animal or grain.
The point of the system was to make a sacrifice. What is a sacrifice?
It is a matter of giving something up that is of great value to fulfill the law of God, which is of greater value. Sacrifice wasn’t supposed to be easy, it was supposed to be hard. You were supposed to “feel it” as it were.
So what happened?
Man happened. Man went out of his way to make life easier for the worshipper while making obscene profits in the process.
He brought in money changers. Where you could trade in your unholy Roman currency for temple currency which was only accepted in the temple. Kind of like going to chuck-e-cheese where you have to trade real money for tokens. They were also making a huge profit from this. Think like, 2 dollars for a dollar kind of currency exchange going on.
Then they would sell you your sacrifice for a profit. Not just enough to cover their expenses and then a little bit in order to make a living. But some obscene profits. Kind of like eating at a theme park kind of profits. A dove would cost you like five times more than it would anywhere else kind of profits.
If you don’t think this happens in the church today, you are kidding yourself. These so-called “media ministries” charge obscene amounts of money for a recorded sermon. Think of this. A set of messages by any of your word-faith big shots could cost up over $80-$100. That goes way above and beyond what it costs to make plus a little to live on.
It’s not like they have to live on those either. For example, I know for a fact that some churches will pay upwards of $1,500 per message by some of these word-of-faith people. That price is paid directly to the speaker, not their ministry, as an honorarium.
That would be like me taking a Sunday off due to illness or something and we pay a guest speaker for one sermon $1,500. That is obscene.
Who ultimately pays for that? Why the people of that church do, that’s who. They do it through there tithes and offerings.
I know of big churches right now that will tout all the good they do, but if a member comes in and needs help with groceries or whatnot. They are handed a number for the local food bank and told to go there.
But you better believe that the chosen few of the church will get help when they need it, but not your average member.
Kind of reminds me of what James wrote:
James 2:1–10 NLT
My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear? Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.
So what does Jesus do?
Jesus makes a whip and chases them out of the Temple. Not just them, but their wares and scatters the coins across the floor.
He throws over their tables and tells the dove sellers to get them out of there.
I think Jesus wouldn’t be too pleased at most of so-called “American Christianity” today. I could see Him doing the same things today that He did then. Honestly, I see Jesus being thrown out of churches today, upsetting the church goers just like he did the Temple goers of His day.
Now all of this makes the disciples remember the Prophecy from Psalm 69:9.
Psalm 69:9 NLT
Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
This was prophesied long ago and in this time we find its’ fulfillment.
Let us not fall into the same trap of making Christianity into some easy-believism that it was never intended to be.
Today we have taken away from the church where Jesus said count the cost and replaced it with, just say this prayer and tack Jesus onto your sinful life and that is all you have to do.
It doesn’t work that way. You throw away your old life and receive new life in Him.
Luke 14:28–30 NKJV
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
Know what it is you’re getting into before you get into it. Know that following Jesus will cost you everything. Also know, that what you have right now has no eternal value anyway so you may as well just throw it away and get Jesus.

Life Point - Trust God When What He Is Doing Doesn’t Make Sense To You.

Exegetical -

John 2:18–22 NLT
But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.

Homiletical -

So after this the Jewish leaders demanded a sign. You see the Jews constantly demanded signs and when they got them they usually dismissed them. For example:
Matthew 12:22–30 NLT
Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see. The crowd was amazed and asked, “Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?” But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive. And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house. “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
Jesus casts out demons with a word instead of a lot of ritual and religiosity. So the pharisees, the religious leaders of the time see this sign and do they believe?
No, they attribute the miracle to Satan.
These religious leaders remind me of the naysayer in churches today. You know the one. The one who is constantly against change and wants nothing to do with the things of God but is so worried about tradition and their preferences that they forget that God is a living God, not a God of dead tradition.
Jesus Himself could appear to them in a vision and it is almost as if they would cross their arms like a three year old and say “make me.”
Jesus tells them to destroy this temple and he will raise it up. He is not talking about the physical temple, but His body. Guess what? He did raise again three days later.
He fulfilled His own prophecy that was given here.
Does anyone recognize it? No, but they did after He was raised and it says they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus said.
When God says to do something, it doesn’t make any sense to us sometimes. As a matter of fact it goes against natural reasoning much of the time.
When that happens we can find ourselves as these leaders saying “What exactly are you doing Lord?” This makes no sense to us.
This is why many times we just need to obey where he leads and let the natural man just be amazed at how God works things out.
I know there are many times when I am amazed at how circumstances just line up to have things happen. I am happy about it when I see the ending, though at the time it makes no sense to me.

Life Principle Make Sure You’re Serving Jesus & Not You While Trusting Him When Nothing Makes Sense To You.

Call to Action – altar call….

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