Lesson 11

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

2:12 After this, he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and there they stayed not many days. 2:13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2:14 He found in the temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting. 2:15 He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers' money, and overthrew their tables. 2:16 To those who sold the doves, he said, "Take these things out of here! Don't make my Father's house a marketplace!" 2:17 His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will eat me up."

 Today's Lesson

This passage displays two of the differences between the Gospel of John and the other three gospels. The first is that in the first three gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), Jesus teaches and preaches around Galilee and then makes one trip to Jerusalem. In the Gospel of John, Jesus is seen going to Jerusalem many times, usually in conjunction with a feast or festival. In the other gospels, Jesus cleanses the temple during His final visit to Jerusalem, days before His crucifixion. In the Fourth Gospel, He cleanses the temple in the first part of His ministry, not long after His baptism by John.


It is possible to reconcile these two versions. The traditional interpretation is that John is writing about events that happened early in the ministry of Jesus in order to complete the record that was begun in the Synoptic Gospels. By this reasoning, most of what is recorded in this Gospel occurs before events that are recorded in Mark and the other gospels. Mark (and Matthew and Luke which follow Mark) concentrates on Jesus' death and the reasons for it. John concentrates on Jesus' identity.


It has always been my opinion that we can waste too much time trying to reconcile everything in the gospels to one another. The Spirit of God has chosen to reveal Jesus Christ in this fashion. We would prefer a clearer, more direct revelation, but God has his reasons. One day we will see more clearly the story of God. For now, God leads us through our faith.


When Jesus comes to the temple, He is angered by what He finds there. In the temple people are selling sacrificial animals and changing money. Jesus does not seem upset by the activity so much as where the activity is being done. They were doing these things in His Father's house! His Father's house was being made a marketplace.


There is a saying that explains His reaction. You cannot mix the "sacred with the profane." We all have a place or a person that is holy to us, that in our hearts draws us closer to God. This sense of the sacred is given to us by God in order to draw us closer to Him.


What is different about Jesus' sense of the sacred was that He was angered because these men had profaned God's sacred place. This was His Father's house. His reaction was to defend God's holiness.


Jesus' reaction must cause me to examine my own sense of the sacred. What do I hold as holy? Is it holy to me, or holy to God? How far am I willing to defend the sacred places of God?


We benefit from the sacrifice that Jesus was willing to make. His blood cleanses us. We are drawn near to God through what He was able to accomplish. But, we must always remember that Jesus was motivated not just for our own sake but by the holiness of God. Jesus was cleansing the creation of God. It was said of Him, "Zeal for your house will eat me up." Another way to say the same thing is that this zeal would consume Him. He spent Himself to set right the holiness of God in His creation.


Am I willing to be consumed for the sake of God's holiness?


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