Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Whip (John 2:13-12)

     Last night, my Bible Study leader taught from John 2:13-22. I learned so much from her so I decided to write about that passage. Please click here to read it (or turn their in your paper Bible) before reading the rest of this post.
     I'm going to break the passage down bit by bit in effort to include everything I learned so get comfy, this will be a long post! :)
     13: The passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
     This is just background information. It's passover(a huge jewish holiday that celebrates God freeing them from bondage in Egypt, click here for the full story) so it's very crowded and there are people from all over filling Jerusalem, particularly the temple, to sacrifice animals to God. 
   14: In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.
     So here's Jesus, He walks into the temple and instead of seeing bunches of people worshiping God and making sacrifices, He sees people buying animals to sacrifice and exchanging money with the "money-changers" so they would have the right currency to buy the animals with. 
   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." 
     Many people say that it is okay to be angry, Jesus was angry and this story is proof of it, but the thing is, this story never says Jesus was angry. Sure it seems like He was but the more I think about it, the less I think He was truly angry with the people. First off, nothing Jesus did cost the people around Him anything. He did not set the animals free, he made the sellers of of animals to leave with their animals. He flipped over the table and poured out the coins of the money-changers so that they could no longer do business but hurt no one in the process. Jesus was perfect and doing the wrong thing for the right reasons is still doing the wrong thing so nothing he did could have damaged anyone. Rather than angry, I think Jesus was appalled. The temple was supposed to be a place to focus on God yet the people had created so many distractions. Jesus wanted to get rid his father's house of distractions for the sake of the righteousness of God and His people.
   17: His disciples remembered that is was written, "Zeal for you house will consume me."
     This is found in Psalm 69:9. It is saying that Jesus was so fired up about keeping God's house pure and holy that it didn't matter what others thought of Him. The dictionary's definitions of zeal is "enthusiastic diligence." I think that's what Jesus had toward righteousness.
   18: So the Jews said to him, "What sign do you show us for doing these things?"
     The Jews reaction to Jesus follows their typical pattern, they are shocked by His behavior and immediately begin to question and doubt Him. Because of they basically ask Him what gives Him the right to do what He did. Yet, as always, Jesus had an answer for them! :)
   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 tree days?" (21) But He was speaking about the temple of His body.
     The Jews are confused by Jesus response because they don't think it is possible for Jesus to rebuild the temple 16,787 days faster than they did. What they don't realize is that Jesus is not talking about the building. You see, the definition of temple is "place where God dwells." Because Jesus is God, God dwells in Him, making Him the temple. (Colossians 1:19) Jesus has the authority to clean the temple of distractions because He is the temple! 
   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 the Jesus had spoken.
     What Jesus essentially did for the people questioning Him in the Temple is predict the future. Jesus told them that they were going to destroy the Temple but He would raise it up in 3 days. Unfortunately, no one understood what He meant until later when He returned to Jerusalem and was killed by the people only to rise again 3 days later! 

     So, now my lengthy break down of the passage draws to a close and I'll start in on what we can apply to our lives from this passage. A major thing that spoke to me in this passage is that a temple is a place where God dwells. Because the holy spirit dwells in us, our bodies are temples! (1 Corinthians 6:19) Now, lately I've been feeling God talking to me about putting aways some of the things that are taking my focus off Him, clearing the distractions out of my life! (This lesson actually followed up a church retreat where we studied idols though our leader wasn't aware of that. Such a cool God thing! He's a great planner!:) ) This was  further reinforcement of that, more proof of what God is asking me to do in order to gain the closeness with Him I have been asking Him to give! After all, relationships are two sided! 
     There are a lot of big distractions in my temple right now and last night I prayed that God would come in and help me drive out all of them just like He did in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago! I now have all whole bunch of new things I need to work on but I filled with peace and joy because I know that a fuller, deeper connection with God will make me much happier than any of "the distractions." I also know that I will have to stay strong in my effort to get rid of the distractions and that it will not be very fun, but I also know that If God is for me, nothing can stand against me(Romans 8:31) and that the end result will be more than worth it! 
When the Romans came the destroyed a lot of the temple where the story took place. 

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