Thursday, April 10, 2014

I Will Raise You Up

John 2:12-22

After this He went down to Capernaum. He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables.

And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" Then His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up."

So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them, and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

So many thoughts in this short section of scripture. Jesus was going to the temple to celebrate Passover. He already knew He was to be the sacrificial Lamb as described in this ceremony. The Passover refers to when God used Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt, when they were instructed to take an unblemished lamb and apply blood to the doorposts and lintels of their house to prevent the angel of death from entering, that they might flee their captors. Jesus's blood over our lives allows entry into His kingdom.

But as Jesus entered the temple He was taken aback by all the merchants allowed in to use the temple as a means to sell their wares. I understand that some of the selling was of animals for sacrifices, but that the vendors were gouging the prices to make a profit. This so angered, so offended, Jesus and His zeal for His Father's house is shown by the overturning of the tables and harsh words for these people to leave. It was meant to be a holy place of God, not an unholy place for price gouging or selling for personal gain. The Jews with their vendors were destroying what the temple was meant to be.

This is a tender subject…I have seen churches do the same thing. Events to honor and praise God preceded by an entryway filled with vendors. I saw this firsthand and was saddened by it…and could not shake how I felt about it. Just one more thing the church has allowed that may not have honored God. What ever happened to just coming to worship, talk about and testify of God? I wondered how He thought about this? Was the money or any part of it given to the church? I can't say.

If the zeal of His Father's house had eaten Him up then, what about today? Do we take the stand that the times are changing and with it we need to change God's Word to suit the circumstances? Make worship more palatable? Do something out of the ordinary to draw the masses to our churches? What is the underlying purpose? To draw people to Christ or draw people to the Church? We may never have a true answer. But He never changes…

I can't help think that we, too, have to be careful what we allow into our own personal temples. We need to have discernment that we are not being lured by the vendors of false preachers, teachers or doctrine. We must desire the pure Word of God and not manmade religion.

Of course the Jews were upset with what He did. They had allowed worldly devices into the temple. I wonder if churches would be upset with what I feel is wrong? Is this more a matter of doing worldly things than doing what God desires? Jesus purified His Father's house because He didn't approve.

The Jews thought there was some underlying miracle in what He did. Jesus' answer pointed only to Himself. That one day this temple (of His body) would be torn down but raised back up in three days. As He purified the temple that day, He would one day bring purification to all who believed in Him. A temple made with human hands is not necessary; God is not confined to a building. But we can be the temple of God with God residing within us when we turn ourselves to Jesus and allow purification of our own temples to take place.

As Jesus was raised up, we can be raised up when we give ourselves to Him.

Romans 8:11 - But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

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