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As we head towards Easter we are going to move through a series titled “The Centrality of the Cross.”

Today is part 3 The Temple of His Body.

Text

John 2:18-19 (ESV)

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.”

Scripture Reading

John 2:13-25 (ESV)

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.

Introduction

The implications of what the cross stood for are true.

The supreme objective of our Lord Jesus was the cross.

From His baptism in the Jordan river , when John the Baptist declared in, John 1:29 (ESV)

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 

Until His crucifixion three and a half years later, Jesus’s steps were resolutely in the direction of the cross.

In todays text, John revealed three distinct things about our Lord’s personality, each relates in a unique way to His death on the cross.

We see Him show anger, we hear Him announce His mission to die, and we observe His divine magnetism that made Him appeal to the people, because not only did He work miracles on their behalf, but He was also in their hearts.

  1. Jesus’ anger (John 2:13-17)
  1. The “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” concept has been so over worked that many preach and follow a Christ who has little resemblance to the Christ of the New Testament.

Certainly Jesus spoke of Himself in Matthew 11:29 (ESV) as being “meek and lowly in heart” when He says,

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

This is a description that reveals His patience with sinful people like us.

But this doesn’t suggest that He is indulgent, or that He takes sin lightly in the lives of His people.

We cant ignore these types of statements in the Gospels.

When Jesus was in the presence of the hypocritical Pharisees, Mark 3:5 (ESV) says

5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

There was nothing “meek and mild” about Jesus when He sent a fierce message to Herod that began with, ‘Go tell that fox” in Luke 13:32 (ESV)

32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.

Nor was Jesus mild when He turned on His heel, His eyes blazing with fire, and said to Peter who had so grossly misunderstood the cross and urged Jesus to bypass it, Get behind me, Satan!

Matthew 16:23 (ESV)

23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Then there were the piercing words He hurled at the Pharisees in Matthew 23:33 (ESV)

33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?

B. At the beginning of His public ministry, we see Jesus demonstrate righteous anger.

The incident of Jesus’ anger in our text today had to do with the desecration of the temple, His ‘Father’s house.”

We can hardly imagine how Jesus felt, with the cross looming ever before Him, as He walked through the outermost court of the temple.

He was coming to His Fathers house, which practically shouted that one final redemptive sacrifice’s going to be offered.

This single sacrifice would fulfil and end all of the sacrifices and rituals that had been part of the temple since Solomon’s days.

So the Jesus saw the shameful desecration in the actions of money changers, He expressed His indignation.

C. The disciples were amazed by what Jesus did.

Out of a burning passion for the true purpose of the temple to be maintained, Jesus had dared to challenge the ecclesiastical leaders.

The whip He held was not for conflict but for cleansing.

Jesus knew, because it had been prophesied long ago, that He would oneway be destroyed as the “living temple” in which the glory of God had dwelled among humanity.

Psalm 69:9 (ESV)

9 For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.

2. Jesus’ announcement (John 2:18-22).

  1. Manner of cleansing the temple.

The Jews who questioned Jesus in Verse 18 in regard to His cleansing of the temple were members of the high priest’s party, the Sadducees, who controlled the temple finances.

Understandably they were incensed because of that Jesus had done.

The practice of money changing and selling animals for temple sacrifices each year at the passover feast was a major source of income for them.

What did they ask of Jesus?

“Give us some “proof” that you have the authority to do what you have just done!”

Yet when Jesus, this unknown Galilean, swept into the temple a few moments earlier, no one lifted a finger to stop Him!

Why?

Because Jesus demonstrated divine authority that literally paralysed the religious leaders who were present.

The very manner in which He had cleansed the temple was sign enough.

B. Implications of cleansing the temple.

Jesus gave the religious leaders an answer, how ever, it was one of the most profound prophetic statements He made while He was on earth, John 2:19 (ESV)

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

What did He mean?

Jesus was actually saying two things.

First He was prophesying His death and resurrection.

Here we can see the cross in His mind already, for these very people would destroy the temple of His body, yet in three days He would raise it again.

There is another implication.

In the Jews destruction of the “temple of Jesus’ body” and the purposes in which God intended it, they would not succeed in stopping the onward march of God’s redemptive planter sinful humanity.

In His resurrection, Jesus would provide power, through the coming of the Holy Spirit, for a new organism called the church, the “called out.”

The Jews completely misunderstood Jesus, however, because they thought He spoke about the actual temple building.

Their statement once one of contempt, ‘how dare you infer that you could rebuild this temple already forty six years in the making, in three days!”

C. Explanation of cleansing the temple.

John’s explanation in verse 21 is profound in its simplicity, 21 “But he was speaking about the temple of his body.”

The Jews would destroy the temple in which the glory of God dwelt.

But that act of destruction, permitted by God as part of His sovereign plan for our redemption, would start a new movement that all of humankind’s diabolical schemes could never stop.

When Jesus was raised form the dead, the church became “the body of Christ”

By virtue of the three days  of His death and resurrection, Jesus transformed a band of Jewish disciples into a universal fellowship in which all people could find God and forgiveness for their sins.

3. Jesus’ appeal (John 2:23-25).

  1. What had Jesus done in this act of cleansing the temple?

First, He had challenged the religious institution of the people to a radical renewal.

In their ceremony and ritual, they had lost the heart of God’s purpose for His people.

They were going through “religious motions”, but there was no redemptive spirit in what they did, nobody was being convicted because of their sins, and nobody felt compassion or love from any direction.

Second, Jesus told them, by prophetic implication, how this renewal was to come about. 

There would be a cross, a death, but it would be followed by a resurrection, which would cause the empowerment of those who dared believe.

Those who believed as a result of this saving power constituted a body of believers who’s influence would not be in the four walls of the temple or any building.

Instead as it says in Mark 16:20 (ESV)

20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

They were proclaiming the Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

B. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for He knew what was in each person.

John 2:25 (ESV)

25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Jesus knew the sin and evil that had twisted and scarred peoples souls.

But He also knew the potential in those who come to the cross and believe in the name of the crucified, risen Son of God.

He knew that the lives of those who come to Him would be transformed, and they would become radiant evangelists of His gospel, His truth.

And because of the number of those who believed, they would do greater works than He had been able to do in His brief time on earth.

For the majority of Jesus’ times spent discipling people to carry this good news to the ends of the earth.

Conclusion.

I like to read, and some of my favourite things to read are biographies, once I read that during the height of world war two, Sir Winston Churchill paid a greta tribute to the young men of the Royal Air Force.

He said they had “mounted up with wings as eagles” and with their sheltering wings guarded the land they loved.

Churchill said, “Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to so few”.

But when we think of Jesus, who died on the cross to take away our sins, we can say this, “ Never in the history of the universe has mankind owed so much to one, the almighty God, in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 

That is the message of the cross.

Jesus died, but He did not stay dead!

Do you believe it?

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

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