We Are To Worship Not Profit

Jesus Clears The Temple

John 2:12-25

"After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So 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. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."

Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 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.

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man. "

Life Application Bible Study Notes Commentary :

Jerusalem was both the religious and the political seat of Palestine, and the place where the Messiah was expected to arrive. The temple was located there, and many Jewis families from all over the world would travel to Jerusalem during the key feasts. The temple was on an imposing site, a hill overlooking the city Solomon had built the first temple on this same site almost 1,000 years earlier (949 B.C.), but his temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25). The temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C., and Herod the Great had enlarged and remodeled it.

The temple area was always crowded during Passover with thousands of out-of-town visitors. The religious leaders crowded it even further by allowing money changers and merchants to set up booths in the court of the Gentiles. They rationalized this practice as a convenience for the worshipers and as a way to make money for temple upkeep. But the religious leaders did not seem to care that the court for the Gentiles was so full of merchants that foreigners had found it difficult to worship. And worship was the main purpose for visiting the temple. No wonder Jesus was angry!

The temple tax had to be paid in local currency, so foreigners had to have their money changed. But the money changers often would charge exorbitant exchange rates. The people also were required to make sacrifices for sins. Because of the long journey, many could not bring their own animals. Some who brought animals would have them rejected for imperfections. So animal merchants would do a flourshing business in the temple courtyard. The price of sacrificial animals was much higher in the temple areas than elsewhere. Jesus was angry at the dishonest, greedy practices of the money changers and merchants, and he praticulary disliked their presence on the temple grounds. They were making a mockery of God's house of worship.

John records this first cleaning, or cleansing of the temple. A second clearing occurred at the end of Jesus' ministry about three years later, and that event is recorded in Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:12-19; Luke 19:45-58.

God's temple was being misused by people who had turned it into a marketplace. They had forgotten, or didn't care, that God's house is a place of worship, not a place for making a profit. Our attitude toward the church is wrong if we see it as a place for personal contacts or business advantage. Make sure that you attend church to worship God.

Jesus took the evil acts in the temple as an insult against God, and thus he did not deal with them halfheartedly. He was consumed with righteous anger against such flagrant disrespect for God.

Four Fold Gospel Commentary

The rebuke of Jesus was addressed to the priests, for the market belonged to them, and the money-changers were their agents. Edersheim says that this traffic alone cleared the priests about $300,000 a year. Though churches differ widely from the temple, they are still God's houses, and should not be profaned. Religion should not be mixed with traffic, for traffic tends toward sin. Pharisaism is its fruit--a wish to carry on profitable business, even with God. On this occasion Jesus objected to the use of the temple for trade without criticizing the nature of the trade. When he purged the temple three years later, he branded the traders as robbers .

When Jesus said "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." He was not talking about the temple made of stones but about his body. His listeners didn't realize it, but Jesus was greater than the temple (Matthew 12:6). His words would take on meaning to his disciples after his resurrection. That Christ so perfectly fulfilled this prediction became the strongest proof for his claims to be God.

John records this saying, and Matthew (Matthew 26:61) and Mark (Mark 14:58) tells us how at the trial of Jesus three years later these words were twisted into a charge against Christ; thus the evangelists supplement each other.

For the temple in this sentence used the word "naos," or sanctuary, the structure which was peculiarly the seat of God's presence. The sanctuary was a figure or symbol of the body of Christ, and the words of Jesus were a covert prediction that as they were desecrating the symbol so would they destroy his body, which it symbolized. They reverenced the Spirit of God neither as it dwelt in the sanctuary nor as it dwelt in the body of Christ. The body of Jesus was a temple (Colossians 2:9), and Christians and the church are also temples (1 Corinthians 3:16,17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Peter 1:13). God's temples cannot be permanently destroyed. They are "raised up".

But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men. The Greek word "pisteuo," here translated "trust," is the same as that translated "believe" in John 2:23. They trusted him, but he did not trust them, for he knew them. He did not tell them anything of his plans and purposes, and the conversion with Nicodemus which follows is a sample of this reticence.

For he himself know what was in man. John gives us many examples of this supernatural knowledge which Jesus possessed. See John 1:42,47,48 John 3:3; John 4:29; John 6:61,64; John 11:4,14; John 13:11; John 21:17. This chapter itself gives us a faithful picture of "what was in man". We find in it temples, profaners, money-makers, sign-seekers, opposers of reform, false and weak professors of faith, etc., but none to whom Jesus could trust himself.

Four Fold Gospel Commentaries

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