The Gospel of John
(James J. Barker)


Lesson 5

THREE PICTURES OF CHRIST

(John 2:13-25)



INTRODUCTION:


1.     After the wedding in Cana, our Lord, along with His mother, His brethren, and His disciples, went to Capernaum, His adopted home town (John 2:12).

2.     Since “the Jews’ Passover was at hand,” our Lord went up to Jerusalem (2:13).     

3.     I mentioned last week that the phrase, “the Jews’ Passover” is significant.  In the OT, the Passover is called the Lord’s Passover, but now it is called “the Jews’ Passover” because the Jews had turned away from God.

4.     They were still observing the various feasts but these feasts had become empty rituals, mere formality without any spiritual reality.

5.     This forms the background to the famous story of how the Lord cleansed the temple and drove the religious racketeers out of the temple.

 

I.                  A ZEALOUS SAVIOUR (2:13-17)

II.               A CRUCIFIED & RISEN SAVIOUR (2:18-22)

III.           AN OMNISCIENT SAVIOUR (2:23-25)

 

I.                  A ZEALOUS SAVIOUR (2:13-17)

1.     At the Passover, worshippers poured into Jerusalem from all over. Many of these travelers found it convenient to be able to purchase animals for sacrifice right there in Jerusalem.

2.     Merchants did good business selling oxen, sheep, and doves and there was much competition.  Eventually, these money-hungry businessmen moved closer and closer to the temple, till finally they boldly sold their animals in the temple itself (2:14).

3.     In addition to the merchants, there were also money-changers (2:14).  Every Jew had to pay the temple treasury an annual tax, and this tax could only be paid in sacred currency.

4.     No foreign coins with its heathen symbols or emblems of Gentile kings would be acceptable, for this would pollute the temple. But many Jews had no shekels; they carried only Roman coins.  Therefore, the money-changers developed a lucrative business exchanging money and charging exorbitant fees to the Jews who were from out of town.

5.     W. Graham Scroggie wrote that, “Christ is interested in commerce, but He wants it out of Church.”

6.     Unfortunately there are certain individuals who only attend church to drum up business – selling Amway or life insurance or who knows what.  Over the years, I have had to ask people to cut it out.

7.     Verse 15 tells us that our Lord “made a scourge (whip) of small cords” and drove them all out of the temple.  He “poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables.”

8.     There this image of Jesus (perpetuated by the RC pictures) that is unscriptural.  He is pictured with long, flowing hair, even though the Bible says it is shameful for a man to have long hair (I Cor. 11:14).

9.     There is this image of an effeminate Jesus who loves everyone, even the devil.  This may be the “Mormon Jesus” or the “pope’s Jesus” or the “JW Jesus” or the “Hollywood Jesus” but it is NOT the real Jesus (cf. Mark 3:5).

10. But some mixed-up folks will say, “Wait a minute.  Didn’t Jesus Himself say, “That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”

11. No.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:22, “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…”

12. The NIV and the NASV and these other new versions leave out “without a cause” and change the meaning of that Scripture.

13. In fact, if the NIV and these other new versions are right, than our Lord was a sinner because Mark 3:5 says He was angry.  And He certainly seems angry here in John 2. 

14. And He certainly seemed angry when He called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, children of hell, whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones, and a generation of vipers (Matthew 23).

15. Revelation 6:16 refers to “the wrath of the Lamb.” 

16. These Scriptures reveal a “zealous Saviour” (cf. John 2:15-17).

17. By the way, note that our Lord referred to the temple as “my Father’s house” (2:16).  This is another affirmation of His deity for only the Son of God could say this (cf. 5:18).

18. Neither Moses or David or Solomon or Ezra ever referred to the tabernacle or temple as their “Father’s house” – only the sinless Son of God could declare this.

 

II.               A CRUCIFIED & RISEN SAVIOUR (2:18-22)

1.     As we follow the Gospel of John carefully we note that our Lord was not merely trying to reform the temple and the Jewish sacrificial system.  Rather, He intended to abolish it.

2.     At this point, the Jews demanded a sign from Jesus, demonstrating to them that He had authority for doing what He did (2:18).

3.     Our Lord was challenging their authority, and He was upsetting their religious system.  But the old system had to be destroyed only that a new one might take its place.

4.     Our Lord responded by predicting His death and resurrection (2:19-21).  This was beyond their comprehension, and even our Lord’s disciples did not understand it until after our Lord’s resurrection (2:22).

5.     The Bible says that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Tim. 1:15). Our Lord had come to make possible a more direct approach to God by offering His own body as a sacrifice.  His vicarious death was accepted by God the Father as an all-sufficient atonement for the sins of the world.

6.     Our Lord’s resurrection from the dead was evidence that He was who He said He was.  Romans 6:4 says that “Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father.”

7.     This was the great theme of the apostles’ preaching.  We see this over and over again in the book of Acts.

8.     First Corinthians 15:13 says, “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”

 

III.           AN OMNISCIENT SAVIOUR (2:23-25)

1.      In Verse 24, it says Jesus “knew all men.”  Only God knows all men (cf. I Kings 8:39).   Only God is omniscient (cf. 1:48-51).

2.     Not only do we see here an illustration of our Lord’s omniscience, but also man’s depravity – “But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them…” (2:24).

3.     One preacher put it this way, “Man’s affections may be stirred, man’s intelligence informed, man’s conscience convicted; but still God cannot trust him” (quoted by Pink, John, p. 100).

4.     Can God trust you?

5.     Our Lord knew that many insincere people were interested only in His miracles.  They were not genuinely saved (2:23-25).

6.     May the Lord give us discernment to know the difference between those that are true born again children of God, and the hypocritical deceivers and shallow pretenders, who are really the children of Satan.

 

CONCLUSION:


1.     If our Lord was angry with the hypocrites who turned the temple into a religious flea market, what must He think about all of the worldly foolishness going on in churches today? – dancing, rock and roll, entertainment, food courts, psychological “support groups,” (Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, et al).  These churches resemble Disney World!  

2.     This seeker-friendly, purpose-driven nonsense is just Satan’s latest attack on God’s church.  The devil knows that many good churches will be attracted to this movement and will follow it into apostasy.

3.     I will conclude with two old quotes from my two favourite preachers.

4.     “This age of novelties would seem to have discovered spiritual power in brass bands and tambourines....The tendency of the time is towards
bigness, parade, and show of power....Jesus said "Preach the gospel to
every creature." But men are getting tired of the divine plan; they are
going to be saved by the priest...by the music...by theatricals....Well,
they may try these things...but nothing can ever come of the whole thing but utter disappointment and confusion.  God dishonoured, the gospel travestied, hypocrites manufactured by the thousands, and the church dragged down to the level of the world” – C.H. Spurgeon

5.     “The Church of God has gone into the entertainment business! People must be amused, and as the church needs the people's money, the church must supply the demand and meet the craving! How else are godless hypocrites to be held together? So the picture show and entertainment...take the place of the gospel address and the solemn worship of God. And, thus, Christ-less souls are lulled to sleep and made to feel "religious" while gratifying every carnal desire under the sanction of the sham called the church! And the end? What an awakening [in eternity]!” – H.A. Ironside



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