This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
John 2:18-25 Jesus and the Religious Leaders in the Temple
events in John 2:18-25 occur just after Jesus has chased the moneychangers and
the sellers out of the temple. The religious leaders wanted to know who gave
Jesus the authority to do what he did in the temple. Jesus did not give them an
answer because he knew that the religious leaders did not want to hear it, and
even if they did want to hear they would not understand it. They took his
challenge about destroying the temple and rebuilding it in three days quite
temple was built so that God’s presence could be confirmed among his people,
but because of their sin and rebellion God’s presence had left them a long time
ago. When Jesus challenged the religious leaders, he might have pointed to his
own chest and said, “This is the authentic dwelling place of God.” While the
religious leaders did not believe Jesus, John wrote that many other people who
saw this confrontation believed Jesus.
power came from heaven, not earth. People want leaders who will lead them where
they want to go. Most worldly leaders get their power from popular support. The
problem is that this power is based on the sin-filled nature of this world.
Jesus’ power came from heaven. He presented himself in truth. His miracles
signalled the Messiah’s arrival. He trusted God, and in return he invited
people to trust him.
used the physical structure of the temple to represent his own body and his
coming crucifixion and resurrection. At the same time he signalled that he
replaced the temple and would now live with his people as their God-Man, Jesus
Christ. This statement was misunderstood by the Jewish leaders and would be
used against Jesus at his trial.
after Jesus rose from the dead would the disciples finally put the story
together. Jesus’ resurrection helped them to remember the Old Testament
Scriptures that prophesied his death as well as his statement about raising up
were following Jesus for superficial reasons-out of curiosity rather than
commitment. Anyone who seeks after the Lord with his/her whole heart will find
him. Jesus can’t be fooled because he sees what is really in a person’s heart.
story of the cleansing of the temple shows three primary truths:
1.God owns the
temple, not the priest.
2.God’s Word is the
only authority recognized in the temple, not anyone else’s.
3.God’s Son claimed
ownership of the temple, and the religious authorities rejected him.
God’s temple is a holy place where we can meet him
without any restrictions, borders or walls. That’s why the curtain separating
the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn in two when Jesus died
on the cross. Once his work was complete, the meeting place changed. Instead of
a physical building, believers are now his temple. Just like the physical
temple had to be cleansed, believers have to have their spiritual lives and
hearts cleansed. We can’t do the job ourselves. Only God can cleanse us. We
have to submit to the process by refusing to tolerate the presence of
corruption in our lives and then asking God to remove it.
Faith that rests on miracles alone and does not mature
to embrace Jesus and follow him is shallow and fickle. That’s why the religious
leaders didn’t follow Jesus. Their faith was so shallow and fickle that they
didn’t have any faith in Jesus.
They, like most of the rest of the Jews, were so imprisoned in fleshly
existence and understanding they could not grasp the deeper spiritual reality.
They could not see beyond the physical temple. Even though they knew every
comma and every dotted “I” and crossed “T” of the Old Testament law, they were
bound in the darkness of ignorance.
The fact that the Jews asked Jesus for a sign revealed
that they had not grasped the significance of Jesus’s rebuke in the temple. It
was centered in their need for proper attitudes and holiness in worship.
Further, they were asking for a display of miracles on demand, and that request
further displayed their unbelief.
Many of us are like that. We might be saved by grace,
but we often know very little of costly discipleship or the calling to be
servants. This understanding comes only when we submit to Jesus as Lord on his
terms. Sometimes we settle for “cheap grace” instead of following Jesus to the
point of death.
This reading ties in with the story of Jesus and the
fig tree in Mark 11:12-14 and 20-24. Jesus saw a fig tree in leaf, but it did
not have any fruit because it was not the season for figs. The fig tree looked
good on the outside but it wasn’t producing any fruit. The religious leaders
also looked good on the outside, but they didn’t provide for the people. As a
result, Jesus decreed that he would let them fade and raise up something new in
their place: the Church. We are the new creation God planted for people who are
hungry to know God. In return, we must make sure that we yield a bountiful
David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood,
TN: Worthy publishing; 2013)
Charles R.: Swindoll’s New Testament
Insights on John (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010)
R.L. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s
Commentary Series, Vol. 27: John(Nashville,
TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1985)
J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, NASB
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)