The Second Sign: Clearing the Temple (John 2:13-25)
Topic: John Scripture: John 2:13–2:25
First Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 7:1-26
Second Scripture Reading: Romans 3:9-26
Sermon Text: John 2:13-25
God provided a temple in order that his covenant people might have a place to gather in order to worship their covenant God. The temple was the sign of God’s grace because it signified his presence among them and his gracious condescension to live in their midst. It was to be a house of prayer and a place of true, heartfelt worship. However, when Jesus entered the temple, he recognized that the temple had decreased into a house of trade rather than a house of worship. Israel had once again strayed from the Lord and their hearts were far from him. By clearing the temple, Jesus demonstrated that God cares about how we worship him. We must worship him in the way that he has instructed us in his Word and from a heart that is truly devoted to him. The Westminster Confession of Faith 21.1 explains:
The light of nature shows that there is a God who has lordship and sovereignty over all, that he is good and does good to all, and that he ought therefore to be feared, loved, praised, prayed to, trusted in, and served with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshiping the true God has been instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations or devisings of men, or the suggestions of Satan, or under any visible representation, or any other way not commanded in Holy Scripture.
- For review, read John 2:1-12. Why did Jesus turn the water into wine?
- Read Deuteronomy 14:22-27 and John 2:13-14. What were the people in the temple doing that made Jesus angry?
- Read John 2:15-17. What was Jesus’ response? Why is it significant that Psalm 69:9 is cited?
- How is Jesus’ clearing of the temple also an illustration of our ongoing need of sanctification? How does this account help us understand our need to be vigilant in driving out sin from our lives by grace through the power of the Spirit?
- What was Jesus revealing by his response in John 2:18-22? Some Christians believe that the temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt in order that sacrifices might once again be offered to God. How would you explain to them from Scripture that this Old Covenant means of worship has become obsolete?
- Do you find comfort in what you read in John 2:23-25, namely that the Lord knows our hearts? Why or why not?
- In preparation for next week, read John 3:1-21. Why do you think Nicodemus did not understand what Jesus was teaching about regeneration?