House Cleaning: Reflections on John 2:12-25

Posted: 01/20/2011 in John's Gospel

Know God (KG) – Live Biblically (LB) – Bless Others (BO)

Setting:  Animals to be used for sacrifice were being sold at the Temple.  Money changers were present to exchange acceptable money for the Temple tax while receiving (with a kickback) the Roman coins that were considered idolatrous because of the graven images of Caesar, etc.  Therefore, merchants were using the Temple courts for personal for-profit businesses.   These systems of outside merchandising and easy sacrifices had a corrupting effect and would obviously have been permitted by the religious authorities (likely for financial gain also).  Jesus makes a whip and drives out the “thieves” from God’s house, overthrows the merchants’ tables, and screamed at those corrupting the house of God.

KG: Jesus is obviously not a wuss, and His love does not turn a blind eye, permitting corruption and sin to go unchecked.  The Jesus that the world accepts is largely a sissified facsimile of the true Christ of Scripture – a false Jesus that rebukes nobody and requires little effort in terms of committed service.  I notice also that Jesus’ strongest words and actions against sin are aimed at the blatantly religious rather than the blatantly sinful.  God, forgive me for the times in which my committing a sin as a child of God – or as a religious leader – angered You more than my lifestyle of sin as a child of the world ever did.

KG: Jesus predicts that He will raise Himself from the dead in v.19.  One of many claims to be God that Christ makes in the Gospel of John.

LB: According to Scripture, Christians are indeed temples of the Holy Spirit.  Despite the fact that we are told to meet together (Church gatherings), we ARE God’s temple more than any church building.  When I reflect on the accounts of Jesus cleansing the Temple of its corrupting “thieves,” I can’t help but turn the spotlight of the Word back inwardly.  What thieves am I permitting in God’s temple?  What “time thieves” and corrupting influences tend to turn my body – God’s temple – into a den of iniquity rather than into a rightful house of prayer?  How now can I live to ensure that I remember that I am not my own property – that I have been bought with a price?  Have I substituted easy sacrifices for my best?  Am I zealous about what Jesus is zealous about?   What is my attitude about going up to worship at God’s house?  Should I not be thankful (as opposed to resentful) for the times of house cleaning in which my soul feels the sting of Christ’s whip and hears the rebuke of His voice?   Hebrews 12 states that God our Father disciplines His children He loves specifically that we may partake of His holiness.  I cannot make myself holy.  I cannot be “good enough” in my own power.  May I submit myself to the Spirit and word of God for cleaning house when necessary – and rejoice that He counts me as His child.  Abba, Father, I confess that too often I have permitted corruption in Your holy temple.  Wash me, and I shall be clean.  Renew my mind, that my desires will be more consistently conformed to Yours.

BO: In vv.24-25, Jesus did not entrust Himself wholly to that group which followed Him “for He knew what was in man.” Yet He had been blessing them with miraculous signs and divine testimony.  To be like Christ is to bless others, including those with mixed motives – including those who will not appreciate what you do (and may even exploit you) – and including those who will one day forget your blessings to them and turn on you.  To lovingly bless others with a naive Christian experience is a joy.  To lovingly bless others after you have “learned what is in man” is Christ-like.  Almost anyone can do the first, but only the spiritually mature can refuse bitterness and cynicism and do the second.  Lord, improve my batting average here.  Jesus knowingly blessed others, even those crucifying Him.  Apparently when God’s will consumes you, even the man-centered temptations of bitterness and cynicism cannot prevent you from genuinely blessing others.  May Your will and zeal for You consume me, O God.

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