John 2:11-17

John 2:11-17 has Jesus after His first miracle of turning the water into wine at the wedding feast of a friend.  Did it matter?  After all it was a small group and very few even knew He had done it.  “This act in Cana of Galilee was the first sign Jesus gave, the first glimpse of his glory. And his disciples believed in him”.  It certainly does matter.  His disciples knew what He had done, and they believed!  But the importance is more than the Christ Followers believing in His power.  This changes everything – it is a miracle of conversion, from the old ways of law, ceremony and purification to the new life of Jesus.  Things will be different from here forward, forever!

He leaves Cana and heads to Capernaum where He hung out for a few days before the Passover Feast.  That happened in Jerusalem, so He traveled there and is appalled by what He saw.  “After this he went down to Capernaum along with his mother, brothers, and disciples, and stayed several days. When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength”.  Jerusalem would be crowded with thousands of visitors coming for the Passover celebration. The temple mount, a place of holiness and worship, would be particularly crowded, and Jesus saw many doing business in the outer courts of the temple, not focused on worshipping the One True God.

He demonstrates His passion for the Father in a very intense and visible way.  “Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me”.  Jesus often does things to change the focus of what was happening in one of the holiest places on the planet.  It doesn’t happen in a flash of anger – He methodically takes time to put together a whip made of strips of leather – but make no mistake He knows exactly what and why He will do what He does.

Why does this offend Jesus so much?  These business folk were set up in the outer courts of the temple which was the only place Gentiles could come and worship.  They weren’t allowed to go any further.  The selling of all sorts of merchandise spoiled the only place where Gentiles could come to worship and pray – it was a very busy market.  But more than that, there was a flood of dishonesty by those who sold there which made it even worse.  So Jesus drove them out.  He’d seen enough.  At first it shocked the disciples but then they remembered the first of many prophecies that Jesus would bring to truth.  He was zealous for His Father’s house.  And because of that, He wanted it to be used to worship God, not sell stuff.

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