Spring Cleansing

Sermon Tone Analysis
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Looking at where we have been and where we are going, let me draw your attention to these two events in John 2:
The first sign: water into wine, vs. 1-11
This was a private manifestation
It demonstrated Jesus authority over nature.
It displayed love and mercy of the Messiah.
Temple cleansing, vs. 12-25
This was a public manifestation (cf. John 5:27)
John 5:27 NASB95
and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.
It demonstrated Jesus’s authority over men.
It displayed the judgment of the Messiah.

1. Capernaum visit, 12.

Verse 12 - Jesus traveled next in John’s gospel down to Capernaum, the direction down pointing out the difference in elevation from Cana to Capernaum on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee (also Known as the Sea of Tiberias) which was below sea level.
Jesus did not travel there alone. He was accompanied by his mother, his brothers and his disciples. Others have suggested that Jesus’s few days spent there were to visit the homes of His first disciples, though this text does not tell us that.
Capernaum was a large village of 1,000 or more. It was to become Jesus’s home and center of activities.

2. The Cleansing, 13-17.

From here Jesus made the trip southward to Jerusalem. The occasion was that Passover was near. Pious Jews who could do so made the trip to Jerusalem for the Passover. Those in Galilee could make the trip regularly. Entire villages would make the three-day journey to about the 2500 feet elevation at Jerusalem. It would have been likely that Jesus went up with those who were with Him in Capernaum.
In the temple complex, Jesus came upon disturbing sights and sounds. The temple complex had a large courtyard, the Court of the Gentiles, surrounding the actual temple itself. The buying and selling of animals here may have been rationalized as a convenience for the pilgrims coming into Jerusalem, but abuses developed as many saw the pilgrim traffic as a major source of income for the city. Worship easily became corrupted.
Another convenience for the pilgrims were the money changers. Temple dues had to be paid in Tyrian coinage, and if one did not have it, they could exchange for it at a high exchange rate. In this time the High Priest and those with him were so involved in the profit-taking, that the merchandising activity at the temple complex was known as Annas’ Bazaar.
Jesus didn’t waste any time. At his first opportunity Jesus cleansed the temple of this abuse that He had doubtlessly long observed. He began His judgment in the house of God.
Malachi 3:3 NASB95
“He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.
Jesus speaks to those who were selling the doves, commanding them to “Take these things away,” speaking with His authority, and “Stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise,” where the significant implication is that Jesus is God’s Son. This provocative act is based on his relation to God as His Son.
In making a scourge of cords and driving the animals and merchandisers out, Jesus showed how much regard He had for their present system.
The abuses here that were judged involved two things:
Using the temple area for merchandising, which area should have only been confined to worship.
The exorbitant and unjust charges made by the priest. The money changers charged 12%. The inspection of lambs required a fee. Many times, the lambs brought by the offerer were rejected by the priest so that they might sell their own stock.
The disciples remembered the Scripture from Psalm 69 at some point that reflected Jesus’s actions:
Psalm 69:9 NASB95
For zeal for Your house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
The righteous One would pay a price for His commitment to God’s temple.

3. The Confrontation, 18-22.

The Jews (almost always seen negatively in John’s gospel) would not accept Jesus’s claim of authority. A sign was demanded of Jesus for asserting this authority because, according to tradition, the temple could only be cleansed by the Sanhedrin (who ran the temple), a prophet, or Messiah Himself .
Malachi 3:1–3 NASB95
“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.
There are two terms used translated “temple.”
hieron, which refers to the whole temple complex, used in verse 14 and 15.
naos, which refers to the inner sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, where God dwells, used in verses 19 - 21.
The Jews who heard Him thought He was referring to the earthly temple which Herod the Great began remodeling 46 years earlier (19 BC) and which was still not completed. But Jesus was referring to Himself, in the midst of the people, where He as God was dwelling. He is speaking of His resurrection, by which He would be gloriously vindicated.
Here is an interesting note: The Jews remembered this, but His own disciples did not until after His resurrection.

4. The Caution, 23-25.

The events in Jerusalem resulted in many disciples believing (vs. 23).
John 20:30 NASB95
Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
Observing the feast was the observance of not only Passover but the Feast of Unleavened Bread which was over a period of seven days. During this time Jesus was publicly active among the people and many believed on His name. Verses 24-25 point to Jesus omniscience: He was not entrusting Himself to them (men) for He knew all men, and He knew men’s heart motives (“ He Himself knew what was in men.”)
Following these verses are two illustrations of Jesus’s omniscience, the attribute of God seen in two interviews: Nicodemus in chapter 3, the Samaritan woman in Chapter 4.
What is the condition of your heart today? Paul said in Colossians 2:9
Colossians 2:9 NASB95
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
Jesus was full of Deity like no temple ever was. He has returned to Heaven, but has left us here on earth. See what the next verse in Colossians says:
Colossians 2:10 NASB95
and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;
2 Corinthians 6:16 NASB95
Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
What does Jesus see when He looks in your heart? Jesus cares about His temples and comes again and again to cleanse our lives if they are not what they are supposed to be—temples giving glory to Him. Consider these verses from the Psalms as we close:
Psalm 119:67 NASB95
Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.
Psalm 119:71 NASB95
It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
Let’s apply the whip of hatred of sin and idolatry to our own lives, so that Christ will not need to.
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