Jesus Cleans the Temple
John 2:13-16"The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!"Jesus worshipped God in the temple somewhat like we worship God in the church building. When he went to the temple, however, he saw things he did not like. There were men selling animals and charging to trade money right inside the temple grounds. Jesus was very angry and turned over the tables and forced the merchants out. Why didn’t the merchants belong there? It was a place of worship, not a marketplace for men to make money. It was a holy place for meeting and serving God, and God was displeased with the commonness of the selling.
Is it possible to worship badly now, also? Yes. We can miss the point and worship to serve our own ends rather than God’s. How does God want us to worship Him? We should think about Him, not us. We should be thoughtful of others. We should try to learn all we can. We should behave ourselves, and not be disrespectful. We can do this by being quiet, listening to the speaker, singing the songs, and praying along with the congregation. Remember, worshipping God is like meeting Him in person. What could we do to displease God? Think about worldly things, talk when others are speaking, run around like it was a playground, be selfish, not think about God at all.
Discussion: Were Jesus' actions appropriate? Is there any time when we would be authorized to use such behavior in God's behalf? While we always look to Jesus as a pattern for our behavior, we must remember that Jesus was God's son. The temple was God's house, the home of Jesus' father. Jesus had authority there. He had the right to chase unwanted cheaters out of his father's house. It was his house, too. Just as our parents have the right to ask misbehaving guests to leave their home, Jesus had the authority to eject people from his father's house. His actions were based on his position, which is exactly what the Pharisees and others were challenging him on. They asked him, what authority do you have? He had it all, but they would not believe.
Object Lesson: If the people needed animals, wasn't it ok to sell to them? The concept was not evil, but it was how and where the merchants sold that angered Jesus. First, they did it in the temple, a place devoted to prayer and worship. Second, they cheated the people. Here's a nickel. Pretend that you have to make your offering in pennies. If you give me your nickel, I'll give you four pennies. Not fair, you say! Well, you need pennies, don't you? Where else are you going to get them? Does that make you angry? Am I taking advantage of you?
True or False
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