Christ Cleanses of the Temple

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Sermon Outline:

1. The Setting leading to the Temple (v. 12-13)
2. The Salesmen within the Temple (v. 14)
3. The Sanctity of the Temple (v. 15-17)
4. The Sign of the Temple (v. 18-19)
5. The Sanctuary (v. 20-22)
6. Jesus’ Refusal to Surrender (v. 23-25)

Sermon Text:

John 2:12-25

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.
Jesus Cleanses the Temple

13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then 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 about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
Jesus Knows What Is in Man

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Sermon Notes

Holy, Loving, Righteous Indignation

It is possible to be angry and to be right. Hard to many is the precept “Be ye angry, and sin not;” and this fact renders the Savior’s character all the more admirable, since He so easily accomplished what is so difficult to us. He could be angry with the sin, and yet never cease to compassionate the sinner. His was not anger which desired evil to another; no touch of malevolence was in it; it was simply love on fire, love burning with indignation against that which is unlovely.

Mingled with this anger there was grief. He was heart broken because their hearts were so hard. As Thomas Manton puts it, “He was softened because of their hardness.” His was not the merciless flame of wrath, which burns in a dry eye; he had tears as well as anger. His thunderstorm brought a shower of pity with it. The Greek word is hard to translate. There is what an eminent critic calls a sort of togetheredness in the word; IOW, He grieved with them. He felt that the hardness of their hearts would one day bring upon them an awful misery; and foreseeing that coming grief, He grieved with them by anticipation. He was grieved at their hardness because it would injure themselves; their blind enmity vexed Him because it was securing their own destruction. He was angry because they were willfully rejecting the light, which would have illuminated them with heavenly brightness, the life, which could have quickened them into fullness of joy. They were thus determinedly and resolutely destroying their own souls out of hatred to Him, and He was angry more for their sakes than His own.

There is something very admirable in our Savior even when we see Him in an unusual condition. Even when He grows angry with men, He is angry with them because they will not let Him bless them, because they will persevere in opposing Him for reasons which they cannot themselves support, and dare not even own. If I had been one of the disciples who were with Him in the synagogue, I think I should have burned with indignation to see them all sitting there, refusing to forego their hate, and yet unable to say a word in defense of it.

Man is indeed at enmity with God when he finds an argument for hate in a deed of love. And it was a supreme deed of love when our Lord cleared the temple. His righteousness could not tolerate the shameful display in His Father’s house of prayer. He made His life the whip… and it was a divine act of reverence – not retribution.