A Thorough Cleansing

The Gospel of John series #06. An exposition of John 2:13-25. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 28, 2010.

Have you ever come to church and been disappointed with what you experienced?  Church was less than what you were hoping for or needed?  Let’s go even a step further – not only where you disappointed you were angry.  Fed up.  Felt as if you had had it.  Well, you are not alone.  This morning we are going to see what happened one day when Jesus “went to church.”  What happened may surprise you.  It might even shock you.  But, if you’re open, it can prove to be very valuable as a means of informing your worship.  We read about it in the 2nd chapter of John’s Gospel.

We are at the beginning of our Lord’s public ministry.
He has initially gathered some of his disciples.
They’ve attended a wedding in Cana of Galilee and there he performed his first miracle.
A miracle not to rid the earth of evil.
Not to bring judgment to the wicked.
It wasn’t to heal a cripple or rescue one possessed of the devil.
It was to save a young couple from humiliation.
It was a demonstration of power and compassion.

After a few days of rest and relaxation with his family in Capernaum Jesus and his disciples make their way toward Jerusalem for the Passover.  Passover was the major feast of the Jews.  It was a time of remembrance as they looked back in celebration of God’s delivering them from Egyptian bondage.  You remember God warned that the death angel would pass through the land of Egypt bringing death to every house.  The only way of escape was to take a lamb, slaughter it and place its blood above the door and on either side.  When the angel saw the blood he would “pass over” the house and thus death would not enter.  As all of Egypt mourned the children of Israel were expelled from the land.  Passover was a joyous celebration of deliverance.  Pilgrims from around the world made their way to Jerusalem to celebrate.  Jewish males within 15 miles of the city were compelled to attend.  Conservative estimates suggest that the population of Jerusalem swelled to 2.25 million during the Passover.

The atmosphere was electric.  The streets where filled with laughter and music.  But as our Lord and his traveling companions approached the temple the laughter and joy gave way to a very different emotion.  We read about it beginning with verse 13.

Text: John 2:13-25
It is no accident that this event is recorded immediately following the wedding in Cana.  It is to be viewed in contrast to that event.  The actions of our Lord in Jerusalem are to be seen in contrast to those of the wedding.  The quiet, unassuming yet powerful miracle worker is also the sovereign Lord of the temple.  The Lamb of God is also the Lion of Judah!

Too often the meek and mild Jesus of contemporary culture is an idol fashioned from a sentimental reading of only portions of the Gospel.  We witness in this text the white hot anger of God’s righteousness as our Lord is consumed by zeal for his Father’s house.  Such a picture is startling to modern eyes.  In a culture long on tolerance and short on truth such actions seem unreasonable.  But in light of the whole counsel of God we should expect nothing less.

As we work our way through this text we are gong to discover that…

Thesis: God-honoring worship demands a godly focus and a genuine faith.

Both aspects are essential.  Our focus must be right and our faith must be real.

1 want to point our two things.

  1. God’s righteous anger burns against perverted worship.  (2:13-17)
  2. God’s holiness refuses to reward superficial faith.  (2:18-25)
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