If you have your Bibles this morning, please take them and find John 2:12. I want to share with you a message entitled, “Are You Concerned about What Concerns Jesus?”
Last Sunday morning, we were at a wedding feast with Jesus and His mother and His disciples. Today, we find ourselves in Capernaum and Jerusalem. Most likely, it is the early spring AD 30.
- Jesus was Passionate about Righteousness, John 12:12-17.
12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days. 13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 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. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”
Before we get to the temple in Jerusalem, 2:12 tells us that Jesus and His family and His disciples when down to Capernaum. I want to make two observations here that the casual observer might overlook.
First, notice John’s use of direction. When John says they went down to Capernaum, he isn’t talking about south but elevation. Cana was in the hills. Capernaum was in the valley of the Sea of Galilee.
We see that again in 2:13. Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Jerusalem wasn’t north of Capernaum, but it was higher in elevation than Capernaum. This why Psalms 120-134 are called Psalms of Ascent. The Israelites sang those songs when they specifically ascend up to the temple in Jerusalem.
The second thing I want you to notice in verse 12 is the presence of Jesus’ brothers. This fact lets us know that Mary was only a virgin until Christ was born. Jesus had younger half-brothers from Joseph and Mary. Since Joseph wasn’t mentioned here, he was probably already deceased.
In 2:13, we see that the Passover was near. Remember that the Passover is the celebration and remembering when angel of the Lord passed over Egypt and killed the first-born Egyptians and spared the Israelites.
Consequently, He freed the nation of Israel from Egyptian slavery. Each and every year, the Passover was celebrated in Jerusalem with thousands of Jews in attendance. Jesus and His family and His disciples were there also. See Exodus 12:12-16.
12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you.
When He came to the temple, He found it in disastrous shape. More than likely, Jesus was in the court of the Gentiles, which was the outer court. It had been turned into what we might think of as a bazaar or flea market of sorts.
Remember, Jews came from all over and were expected to make their sacrifices and pay their taxes. Rather than travel with their animals for sacrifice, they began to buy their animals for sacrifice here in Jerusalem in the court of the Gentiles.
The text says there were oxen and sheep and doves and all of their waste, and as you can imagine if you know some simple economics, the prices were less than fair.
When demand is high and supply is low, prices are high. They were greatly inflated.
Not only were animals being sold for sacrifice at outrageous prices, but Jewish currency was required to pay the annual temple tax. Therefore, if you need to exchange your Roman currency for the required Jewish currency, that service was available as well but also at inflated exchange rates. The temple, which was a place of worship, had been turned into a first-class racket.
Jesus wouldn’t stand for it. Jesus was righteously angry, and in verse 15, we see His passion for righteousness.
He made a whip and turned the animals loose and turned over the tables and the money boxes. He cleansed the temple for the first time. By the way, the Synoptic Gospels tell us that Jesus did this again during the last week of His life.
Pandemonium ensued. Animals were running here and there. Merchants were chasing coins all over. It was chaos, and Jesus charged them not to make His Father’s house a place of business, and His disciples remembered Psalm 69:9.
9 Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
Jesus was passionate about righteousness. It matters to Him what happens in this place. It isn’t a place to be entertained or a place to be taken lightly, but it is a place to worship God and lift up Jesus and minister to people’s needs. Jesus was passionate about righteousness.
- Jesus Predicted His Resurrection, John 2:18-22.
18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” 19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 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.
After all the animals had been released and Jesus had a made a real mess of things, the Jews wanted to know who or what authorized Him to do all this? They wanted a sign to demonstrate His authority.
In one way, Jesus obliged. He told them of a sign in future. He told them to destroy the temple, and He would raise it up again in three days.
They thought He was talking about the physical temple. It took years to build and wasn’t even finished. However, writing after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, John tells us that He was talking about His body and predicting His resurrection from the dead.
Again, her are few more observations that the casual reader might miss. First, generally speaking, lost people don’t understand spiritual truth likes these unbelieving Jews. Therefore, we have to pray for God to give them eyes to see and ears to hear. These Jews thought Jesus was talking about the temple when Jesus was predicting His resurrection.
Second, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the difference maker. It sets Christianity apart. Judaism doesn’t have a resurrected Savior. Islam doesn’t have a resurrected Savior. Hinduism and Buddhism doesn’t have resurrected Saviors.
The resurrection of Jesus makes Christianity unique and supreme. Consequently, this ultimate sign or miracle authenticates all that Jesus ever did and said.
- Jesus Passed on Renown, John 2:23-25.
23 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. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.
While in Jerusalem, Jesus, evidently, performed multiple miracles or signs that obviously got the crowds stirred up. However, Jesus wasn’t looking for renown or popularity.
The end of verse 24 says He knew the heart of man. He knew these folks had only gotten excited about the supernatural and where here today and gone tomorrow.
In same way, brothers and sisters, Jesus knows your heart this morning and if you’re a member of the body of Christ so that your ticket is punched to heaven or if you have surrendered your life to Him as your Lord and Savior.
By the way, in reality, I’m not certain that simply having your ticket punched means you’ll be in heaven. I believe you have to have been born-again.
So what can we conclude regarding Jesus’ clearing the temple? Do we have temples today like this? Well, not exactly, but it is interesting how Paul used this word in 1 Corinthians 3 and 1 Corinthians 6.
3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
In chapter 3, the temple of God is the local church, and Jesus is concerned or passionate about who is in the local church and what the local does, specifically their holiness.
In chapter 6, the temple of God is not the local church but the individual Christians. However, that makes perfect sense because the parts make up the whole.
Therefore, Christian, because Jesus is concerned about our righteousness, He is concerned about your righteousness and how you live and talk and recreate and parent and spend your money and work and treat your spouse.
So I pray that you are concerned about the righteousness of your temple because Jesus is concerned about the righteousness of our temple.