Tuesday, November 29, 2011

John 2: 12-25

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.
13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

Key Observation:
The main purpose of John is “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ” (John 20:31) and in this section we find Jesus acting jealously for His father.

The Life of Christ in Stereo makes it apparent that Christ cleaned out the temple twice, once at the beginning of his ministry and once at the end of his ministry. John, with his attention to both time and place, puts this cleansing clearly near the beginning of His ministry. Matthew tells us that Jesus, after His triumphal entry, He “entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.” (Matt. 21:12) Clearly John tells us of the cleansing of the temple as being early; Matthew equally clearly tells us of a late cleansing. The two times of cleansing are easily accounted for if we view it as two separate cleansings: one at the beginning of His ministry, and one near the end.

McGee says: “This was not at the beginning of His public ministry but probably at the end of the first year.” I do not think I agree. John is practically a slave to time and place, even this early in John:
1) Now all this happened at Bethany 1:28
2) The next day 1:29
3) The next day 1:35
4) The first thing Andrew did 1:41
5) The next day 1:43
6) On the third day a wedding took place in Cana 2:1(We are left with an unknown period of time between chapter one and two)
7) After this he went to Capernaum 2:12 (again an indeterminate period of time)
8) he stayed there a few days 2:12
9) When it was almost time for the Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem 2:13

Thus it seems to me that these events are connected in time in John’s mind, and that they were probably not a long time apart. The measured time we have is the continual “next day” or “after this”. McGee does not give a reason for the longer time, and I do admit it could have been months. I wonder what his reason for believing the longer interval was.
In any case McGee himself agrees there were two cleansings: “He did this twice. One cleansing was at the beginning of His ministry and one again at the end of His ministry.”

I recall my early Christian life and a pastor friend of mine who had great difficulty with believing there were two cleansings. I think it was because this act is sometimes interpreted as the mad ravings of the weird Jesus. Jesus was acting in a bizarre fashion, at least according to how we think of proper behavior. I think my dear friend was not looking at the offense through the eyes of Jesus. Think about it for a moment. Jesus was seeing His own Father’s house turned into a house of merchandise. It was a place for man to try to find peace with God, a place that God himself had picked. It is also the exact place to which the Son is returning, and will set up His rule on earth. That this place should be despoiled by sinful man selling his wares was an ultimate despising of the house of God. Of course He cleaned it out. At the beginning of His ministry, He cleaned it to symbolize His authority. At the end of His ministry He cleaned it anew for the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

How do I know that? Well, in verse 18 the Jews ask for a miracle so that Jesus could show He had authority to do such bold and bizarre actions. Jesus gave them a miracle, saying, destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it again.” He did answer their petition to validate his authority. The resurrection did establish His authority once for all. But they misunderstood Him, thought He was speaking of the temple he had just cleansed, and even his own disciples did not understand this saying until after the resurrection.

A final note. I can’t help but remark on a theme of John contrasted against another theme. First John tells us (v. 11) that his disciples put their faith in Him. Then he tells us “many people” (v. 23) believed in His name. But then John adds a note: Jesus did not commit himself to any of them, for He knew what was in a man. These themes are repeated throughout John. Many believe. Many follow. But the Lord knows their heart. In John we see great movements of many crowds, trying to take Jesus and make Him a king by force. But we see Jesus, not willing to give Himself for that purpose, because the mind of God was for others. Where would you or I be if not for God’s willingness to wait for us? The matchless grace of Jesus was given to me, at least in part because God had a better plan—the plan of the cross.

Wonderful Grace of Jesus

1. Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden,
Setting my spirit free,
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

2. Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching to all the lost,
By it I have been pardoned,
Saved to the uttermost;
Chains have been torn asunder,
Giving me liberty;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

3. Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching the most defiled,
By its transforming power,
Making him God's dear child,
Purchasing peace and heaven,
For all eternity;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All sufficient grace for even me;
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame;
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus,
Praise His Name!

Lyrics: Haldor Lillenas

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