September 1 – John 2:13-25
“Zeal for your house will consume me,” really doesn’t jive with the long-haired, peace-loving hippy Jesus of modern imagining. Of the many things this can teach us, we see most directly that Jesus’ passion for God and God’s people drove him to this. That’s because these money changers and animal sellers weren’t just doing commerce in a “holy place”, as if we set up a souvenir stand in a church lobby. They were operating in the outmost court of the temple, also called the Court of the Gentiles because it was the only place where non-Jews could worship in the temple. They were selling animals for out-of-town Jews to use in sacrifices but were interrupting the worship of any Gentile attenders in the process (imagine trying to pray in an open-air plaza filled with lambs and cows). It wasn’t the buying and selling of goods in the temple that was the issue for Jesus, it was the interruption of worship, the erosion of the real function of the temple and disruption of the only Gentile-accessible section. And, as we see here, that was a real big problem for him.
This makes sense when you consider Jesus’ relationship to the temple. The temple was the location of God’s presence, his dwelling place on earth. With the incarnation God came not to just dwell in Spirit in a building but in the flesh as one of us. Jesus is the ultimate reality that the temple pointed to. And Jesus is going to have to die to complete the actual purpose of the temple. When Jesus said, “destroy this temple,” with sacrificial lambs bleating in the background he was pointing to a coming fulfillment that would actually make people right with the Father and actually bring them into his presence. Jesus gives no sign to the temple leaders because the sign is all around them, because, as Jesus said in Matthew 12:6, “Something greater than the temple is here,” and the leaders refused to listen. Ultimately their refusal is a further fulfillment of Psalm 69:9, “For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.”
Questions for Discussion
• Can someone read John 2:13-25 for us?
• What stood out to you from this section?
• Why do you think there were money changers and salesmen in the temple?
• Why do you think Jesus was so upset with them that he drove them out with a whip?
• Why do you think Jesus refused to give the Jewish leaders a sign/miracle to explain his actions?
• What can all of this tell us about what Jesus desires for people?
•What can this tell us about how we follow Jesus?