Lent 3 Year B : John 2:13-22
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me." 18 Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" 19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." 20 The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
I would like you to ask yourself the question, "Why do I go to church?"
Would you like to discuss your answer with a neighbour, perhaps someone you didn't come to church with.
Hopefully your answer will have included something like: "I have come here to meet with God"; " I come here to worship God".
One of the issues that underlies today's gospel is "Where and how do we meet with God?"
The clearing of temple showed Jesus is passionate that God's house should be used to worship Him. The passage also shows that Jesus has authority over the temple and over death because of the resurrection. Jesus is now to be the focus or centre of our worship of God.
Look at this using three headings: The Temple B.C.; The Temple A.D.; The Temple A.P.
The Temple B.C.
The tabernacle and later the temple were the places where God lived, if indeed you could say that God can be confined in this way. It was certainly the place where God met man. Yet it also retained the fact that God is holy, perfect, and therefore different to and separated from us.
Before Jesus the temple in Jerusalem was the place where sacrifices were offered to pay the price for the sins of God's people. This enabled God to meet with man. It was the place where God was worshipped, where prayer was offered to him.
But in Jesus' day it was a centre of commerce. Jesus called it a market, verse 16. It wasn't a house of God it was a house of money making. The large courtyard surrounding the temple was used by traders. The cattle, sheep and doves, verse 14 were used as sacrifices and were sold to Jews who travelled distances and couldn't bring their own animals. Jews aged over 20 had to pay the Temple Tax. This was paid in Tyrian coins which had a high silver content. People coming with coins from many other countries had them exchanged.
The use of the temple was denounced by Jesus who purified it by driving out the animals and the merchants.
It can almost symbolise the way that Jesus needs to come into our lives to drive out what is wrong and prevents us from drawing close to and worshipping God.
What is our motivation for going to church?
Does this stand up to the examination of Jesus?
Is there anything in our lives that Jesus needs to drive out that hinders us in our walk with him?
(The Temple B.C.;) The Temple A.D.
The Jewish leaders demanded a miracle to show that Jesus had God's authority to cleanse the temple. Verse 19, Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."
Jesus was referring to his body as the temple. He was talking about how the Jewish leaders would crucify him, and how he would rise from the dead. The leaders didn't understand this, and misquoted these words against Jesus at his trial. Jesus was saying that He is the temple. He is where God lives.
Colossians 1:19: "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him."
Drink all of water glass. How much drank ? How much of water in me ?
How much of God is in Jesus ? 'all'. Jesus is the person where God met man because God became a man. We are limited in what we can understand. God is beyond our comprehension. He is so powerful, big, awesome and holy. So he came to our level so that we could understand what he is like, and what he intended us to be like. Jesus.
Whilst being a man Jesus continued to be holy, perfect, and therefore different to and separated from us. Jesus offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice to pay the price for the sins of God's people. It is through Jesus' life, death, resurrection and ascension that God can be worshipped, and prayer offered to him.
( The Temple B.C.; The Temple A.D.;) The Temple A.P. ( After Pentecost !)
1 Corinthians 6:19, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body."
Every Christian is a temple of God because His Holy Spirit lives in everyone who is a Christian. To lead us, strengthen us, encourage us, convict us of sin, open our eyes to God's ways, produce fruit, give gifts for the benefit of the church and so on...
It is through God's Holy Spirit that we can worship God, pray to God, and be holy. Set apart to do God's perfect will. We are to honour God with our bodies. The world says that life is about living for our own pleasures, to suit ourselves. The Bible says we are to live to honour and please God. Otherwise we will grieve God's Spirit. Our being will be torn apart.
We are put right with God through Jesus' sacrifice of himself on the cross. This sacrifice is a once and for all sacrifice that does not need to be repeated , will not be repeated, and cannot be repeated. As believers we are called to respond to what God has done for us in Jesus.
Romans 12:1, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship."
God sees us as perfect through the life and death of Jesus. We have the duty and joy of living up to that perfect standard, imitating Jesus by living holy lives. We should do this as individual believers, and as corporate believers.
"Worship is not a part of the Christian life; it is the Christian life." Gerald Vann (1906–1963)
1 Corinthians 3:16. Paul addresses the whole church, the you is plural in the Greek, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."
God is with his people by His Holy Spirit as they come together. Together we can minister and grow using the gifts of the Spirit through faith, hope, and love.
Our individual bodies are temples of God who lives in us by his Spirit !
Our church, both locally and internationally is a temple of God ! Therefore we should honour God by living for him, and honour him by honouring other believers, and the church. This is true worship and whilst it should include public worship on a Sunday it should start then, not stop then! True worship is about giving ourselves completely to God.
"To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God." Archbishop William Temple (1881–1944)