John chapter two, beautiful passage of scripture that we’ve been in together. I love John because two reasons, and you’re going to see this play out today. John, no matter where you are in your Christian journey, you pick up John and there is just powerful truth that happens in the book of John. And then on top of that, the more that you grow to understand scripture, first century, as Jesus came into this world to proclaim his message and you understand the Jewish context, John is just rich in beauty. So no matter where you are in your Christian life, whether you’ve walked with Jesus for several years or your brand or the faith, you read the book of John and it is a powerhouse book.
And when you look at the context of John chapter two, this section for me is a very encouraging section, especially as I think of the last 12 months for us as people on planet earth. We’ve had, unless you’ve been hiding on a rock, you’re aware that coronavirus has been a thing, right? And it’s been interesting navigating in church life during that time, or even being a pastor in a church during this time, because with all that’s happened, you really come to a place where you hit the reset button. You wonder, okay, what is essential? What is not, what are we doing? How do we even function as a church? And it makes you evaluate and sort of get back to the core of what church should be about, what gathering as God’s people should be about, or what our heart should long for.
And really anytime you go through adversity in life, it has this tendency to kind of rock you and to make it go back to the foundation of, okay, what is it I’m about? And it reminds me of a passage in Hebrews chapter 10, verse 23, where the Bible says, “Do not waiver for he who promised is faithful.” Saying to look believers in Christ, if you have the foundation in Jesus, don’t second guess yourself here, because this is the foundation you need to rest on. Do not waiver. You ever get in one of those moments where maybe you’ve started off confidently, and then you start to look at the people around you and it seems the majority of people have lost their ever loving mind. And then you start to doubt yourself. You look at yourself and you kind of think, “Wait a minute, am I crazy? Or are they crazy?” You kind of second guess where you are because it just doesn’t match the reality of what you’re seeing in everyone else. And so you kind of feel this Island to yourself.
And when you get to those kind of places in life, it’s this time to either figure out, okay, am I wrong? Or to find yourself affirmed in that foundation that you’re resting upon. And that’s where John chapter two hits us is, is this section of scripture where things are about to get a little rocky. But we’re going to see the consistency of Jesus maintaining through these moments. And beautiful passage of scripture. Because if you think with me over the course of John chapter one and two, what we’ve seen together is really Jesus laying this incredible foundation to build just a wonderful ministry in the way that he’s coming to reconcile the world to himself. I don’t think there could be a better way in which Jesus has done it, which we’ve seen together as we’ve talked about these two chapters. And then when you get to chapter two, verse 13, where we’re going to be today, the passage just lays out this beautiful summary, it says, “The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,” which doesn’t sound that incredible. But in context is amazing because when you think about John chapter one first 18 verses, it identifies for us the significance of who Jesus is, right? It describes for us exactly who his identity is.
And I love that the way that John does this, we talked about this together because when you read the gospels, the first few gospels present to us what happened. You read Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you’ll see the story of the gospels unfold with the beginning of Jesus’s life. It tells you how or what happened with Jesus, how he was born and the way things transpired. But when you get to the beginning of John, John talks about why this even matters, right? The first 18 verses, the identity of Christ, the power of who he is. And then from verse 19, the proclamation of John the Baptist and the identity of Jesus. And Jesus then gives the invitation as chapter one concludes to the disciples, “Come and see and follow me. Come and see and follow me.”
And then in chapter two, beginning of verse one, you get the wedding of Canaan. We talked about that last week. Just kind of an odd story to have as Jesus’s first miracle, but we saw last week, why it was such an incredible story to tell, why John chose out of all the miracles of Jesus, why the wedding of Canaan? So bizarre, it’s just water to wine. I described it as like a David Blaine street magic trick. It’s like raising the dead, that’s pretty incredible. That’s kind of the miracle I might’ve led with, with Jesus. But he chooses the wedding of Canaan. Boy, we learned as the wedding of Canaan is a greater illustration of Jesus’s own sacrifice for us. It’s an illusion to everything that Christ would be, that he would pay the dowry for our lives. The groom offering himself for his bride, powerful story.
And then when you get to chapter two, verse 13, what makes this so incredible is that now Jesus is going to Jerusalem to the temple. The King is going to his palace. And that’s really what the mercy seat within the temple demonstrates, right? That’s the throne of God. That’s where the presence of God dwells. And when God created the temple, that was the place where heaven and earth collided. Or for the Jews, if they wanted to encounter God, they went to the temple to meet with him. And to think in this passage of scripture, now God himself who has become flesh is going to this temple so that they could encounter him. And not only is Jesus going to this temple, the King really going to his place, it tells us that the day he chooses to do this is on the Passover.
You think of all the days that Jesus could have journey to Jerusalem when his ministry began, and he chooses the Passover. Why does Jesus choose the Passover? The Passover is that symbolic representation of everything that Jesus would do for us. You think about what the temple is. The temple it’s the shadow of everything that Jesus would fulfill for us, and the Passover is that holiday that represents everything that Jesus is for us. And Jesus chooses as his ministry begins to go to that temple on this unique day, as a representation of who he is so that they could encounter God in the flesh. The wedding of Cana just took place. And the wine that was celebrated at that wedding was a portrayal of Jesus’s own blood that would be given for us. And Passover was the day where the lamb would be sacrificed.
And John in this book has just said, “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” that’s what he says in John chapter one. John the Baptist declares that about Jesus. He’s the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and now that lamb is going to the temple on Passover. You think about the significance of what Passover represents. This was the day that Israel went from slave to free. This was the day that when Israel took the blood of the lamb and applied it to the doorposts over their homes, that rather than the death angel taking the life of the firstborn, God spares their life, he provides life and he sets them free from slavery to enjoy and delight in that relationship with him. The Passover was something that from this point Israel was to celebrate from this moment forward to stand in awe of a glorious God that would rescue them and desire to meet with him.
When you study in scripture, anyone that encounters this glorious presence of God and surrenders to it, as he offers them his grace, it forever changes them. When you think about Moses when he encounters the power of who God is just before Passover, right, story tells us he’s told to go to Pharaoh and say, “Let my people go.” But the way that he encounters God in his glory is at this burning bush and God by his grace calls Moses and this forever changes Moses. Or I think about the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus that he’s going to kill Christians, and then God by his great light strikes Paul down and provides his mercy and grace for Paul. And it forever changes Paul in the course of Christian history. Or even Isaiah, Isaiah chapter six, he sees the Lord of [inaudible 00:09:23] and the [inaudible 00:09:24] from the angels of fire burning over the throne of God. And Isaiah says, “I am a dead man before this glorious God.” And then God sends an angel down with tones that grabs a coal from off the altar and touches Isaiah on the lips as if to purify Isaiah. And then he says, “Whom shall is send and whom will go for us?” And Isaiah says, “Here, am I Lord, send me.”
Why does Isaiah go? It’s because Isaiah, he never gets over this glorious God who distributes his grace towards him. That’s what this temple represents, that the hand of God would meet this earth and want to connect with people, and not just the temple of God, but the Passover. So when you study Israel’s history, what you see is right after God rescues his people from slavery in Egypt, which is symbolic of God rescuing us from our sin to set us free in him. That God then with the children of Israel sets up the tabernacle, which would ultimately become the temple so that the people of God could respond towards praise and love and worship to their creator who spares their life from slavery and gives them identity in him. That’s incredible, to think that God would care about me, cares about every detail of our lives.
I love, my kids just a couple of nights ago, we just went through Psalm 139. That God knows when you rise and when you sleep. God knows your thoughts from afar. He knows the words on your lips before you ever say them. God thoughts towards you are more than the sand on the seashore. That’s incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever shared this illustration, but thank God today is the day. So I’m going to tell you why I’m a New England Patriots fan for just a minute. As a kid I grew up in a small town, about 50,000 people. Marshall University, a D2 school was winning championships, as a division two school. And on their team, I remember when I was eight years old, I lived just in town and there was an 18 year old young guy that received a scholarship from South Carolina on the team. And my mom ended up working with his girlfriend. And they ended up one day getting married, but my mom, at that time, I was into all the sports as a kid. And my mom would talk to her as they would work together and said, “My son, one day, he would just love to just get maybe an autograph of your boyfriend’s card or anything playing sports. That would just mean so much to him.”
So this guy playing for a D2 school, you don’t make cards for D2 schools. So maybe some schools do, but he he took a Polaroid picture and he autographed it, right? And his name is Troy Brown. He autographs it. And he goes on and has a great career, four years and he talks to me every once in a while I was a kid. I just think this is a great thing. I’m a friend with a college player, right? Incredible. But all of a sudden eighth round in the NFL, he gets drafted. He gets drafted by the New England Patriots out of this little D2 school. And he goes on and even wins Superbowls with this team. I remember, he’s just 10 years older than me, and I remember knowing him over the years, not real well, just enough that even when he would come back and visit our hometown, I can remember in high school, walking the streets with my friends and he would just roll up randomly sometimes and roll down his window and just say, “What’s up Nathaniel?” My friends who just… Their jaws or drop and I’ll be, “I’m best friends with Troy Brown and what can I say?”
And he played his whole career at the New England Patriots, 15 years. So my like for the Patriots really has to do with one person that impacted me as a young child, right? And I get today, older now, I look at sports and I think it’s a little crazy to think that guys get paid millions of dollars to just catch a little ball and run around on a field. That’s a little insane to me, but as a kid, that meant so much to me to think, wow, right? But you put that in context of really this story of John. It’s good to feel important to people, to know that someone values you or just will give that extra attention to you to make you feel important. But how much more important could it get than God himself? God himself who pursues you, God himself who makes a way to connect to you that you might know him, to love him and respond to him. That’s what this temple became. It was that place that when they saw the glory of this great God that would come down for me, and as a slave, he would set me free. And he would give me worth, and value, and meaning, and purpose, and elevate me in this world to know him, for him to call me his own, to want to even connect me, how incredible?
And so the temple became this place of coming back to God and showing your joy in just being captivated by his beauty. If you’re not captivated by the truth of his glory and grace, honestly, your worship will reveal it. And that became the problem with Israel. Israel, over time, they lost sight of the glory and grace of God. This is why God says in Luke, “Every year, I want you to celebrate Passover,” because our hearts need to be reminded of the goodness of who he is because we so quickly forget. And so God encouraged them year after year to do this. But what started to happen is that their worship revealed that they weren’t as captivated by the beauty of what it was that God would know them. I love the way that Psalm eight says this for us, it’s this worshipful Psalm of David. He says this in verse four, it’s kind of a verse that makes you just pause and think for a moment in your heart. It says, “What is man talking about God? What is man that you’re mindful of him? And the son of man that you care for him?”
I love that verse because it’s saying one to us, that God is mindful of you, right? But when you read this verse, this verse is so inquisitive of David as he’s worshiping before God, that the way David words it it’s not just recognizing that God is mindful of us, but it sort of makes you pause and think, well, why should I be mindful of God? What is it about God that’s so glorious, right? You see David in this Psalm, he’s just reflecting on that, that our hearts would find that place to be mindful of him. Or Paul in Ephesians five says this, “Make the most of your time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Well, David is saying is don’t upset. He’s not saying go obsess about every minute, every minute you better be praising God, or if things are going to get messed up, that’s not what what Paul is saying here, what Paul is saying is look, when you think about the course of life and your life, what you want it to be about, intentionally plan your life in such a way that you make the most of it.
When people look back over the years of what you were about, make the theme of your life be about what matters, make the most of your life. And that’s when he says in the next verse, “Determine what the will of the Lord is.” Make your heart gravitate towards that, as God is mindful for you, be mindful of him. Consider what this is, this moment. When I think about Christianity and I study world religions, here’s one of the things that astounds me in Christianity sometimes. It seems to me other religions tend to carry a greater reverence than Christians do for God. I don’t want to say that to be chastising, but having been in different religious gatherings, there’s this level of reverence sometimes that I feel like is God’s people, that Christians might lack.
Which is incredible to me because when I studied the idea of the Christian God versus other Gods in this world, there’s this sovereignty about our God that I think supersedes other religious beliefs. So when it comes to reverence towards God, we should outmatch people around us, not as if it’s a competition, but here’s where it gets dangerous. Here’s where it gets dangerous in making a statement like that. Sometimes as Christians, we think, we need to have joy in the Lord, and that’s true man have joy in the Lord because Jesus comes any rescues You. And at the same time, we need to walk with the reverence for the Lord. And so sometimes people ask the question, “Okay, well, how can we revere the Lord?” And because we’re not comfortable with maybe the type of reverence we display, sometimes we start to make rules. We legislate legalism, right? We start making all of these rules. Well, if you’re going to revere God it’s got to look like this. You got to walk like this. You got to act like this. You got to talk like this.
And before you know it, you just start looking like this weird group that’s just disassociated with the rest of life. You create this little bubble around you and other people are just like, “That group is weird, man. They do these things and it’s just, I don’t understand it.” And when we talk about reverence for God, here’s what I think is important, is not to come up with these lists of rules of do this and don’t do that, it’s to take the attitude of first Peter chapter three, verse 15, which Peter says, “Revere the Lord in your heart. Revere the Lord in your heart.” It’s going to look different for different people, but how important is it to revere the Lord in your heart? And here’s why, because sometimes in life, things are going to rock you. Things are going to rock you and you’re going to need to go back to a foundation of are they crazy, or I’m crazy, right? And that foundation is intended to be in the Lord. That’s why God set up this Passover that our hearts could gravitate toward those moments in God that were just so precious.
I think, and it doesn’t just stop with the Passover, God intersects with your life, right? He came for you too. He’s made a difference in your life. You can go back and think of those monumental or moments where God just made a difference in your world and hold on to that, worship in that, cherish those moments. It’s not to say that God isn’t always with you, but there are there’s times that he just shows up and he just transforms who you are. I think even for us as a church, getting into this building, I used to hate running, I still kind of have this love, hate with it, but I remember the reason I started to run was because my house used to be one mile from here and I would run down the street on state street and I would come to this building. And for two years I would run around this building, not for two years straight off and on, right? But I would just jog and I would come down here and I’d run circles around this building. And I would just pray for this building.
And I know that I wasn’t the only one that did it. I know other people prayed for this building, but this building set vacant for a few years. We just thought about the possibility. What if we could own a home like this for God’s people to gather and just praise his good name? And lo and behold, God opened the door for us to have a place like this. So every time we gather we worship. It’s a monument to the goodness of who he is and what he’s doing in our lives. To revere the Lord, God’s glory and his grace renews us. But here’s the problem that happened in Israel. They lost a picture of God’s grace and glory in them, and it started to reveal itself in their worship. Or what happened is they started to show up with lame sacrifices at the temple. And so what Israel did is they set up legislative legalism. They weren’t revering God enough. So they decided, you know what? We’ll have the Levi’s inspect. We’re going to inspect the sacrifices to make sure that they’re good sacrifices.
And with any law that’s legislated, if you create a law, yes, you might modify behavior, but it may not ever truly impact the heart. You can do what people tell you to do, but you may not really want to do it. And so this is what you see in the life of Israel. They gathered to worship and they start legislating the law. Let me say it like this for us, without you ever telling me anything verbal about Jesus and what your view is about Jesus and how you love Jesus, if you just claim to be a Christian, you can look back at the pattern of your life and see if you really revered Jesus. It’s demonstrated in what you do, what you offer, how you give, the joy you carry, the way you treat people, how you sacrifice. What you sacrifice for communicates more deeply about what you love than your words. Jesus gives his life for us. And what does that say? He loves you. He loves you. He doesn’t love you because Jesus gave his life, Jesus gave his life because he loves you.
And then we have a place to respond to that because we love him. Sometimes as a church we do yard sales here. It usually feels like about once a year, we’ve always done some sort of yard sale where we help some cause around the world, some mission’s purpose, and without fail, without fail, this will happen every time. Next time we do it, don’t do what I’m about to criticize, okay? But next time we do it, you can just watch and laugh with me, okay. Someone will show up in the community and say, “I got a couch for you and I’ll let you have it.” And then when they get here, it’s missing three cushions and coated in MP stains from cats. So I was, “Oh, thank you so much. Oh, we need this really bad. What are we going to do with this? We can’t even pay someone to take this, right?
But inevitably, at some point I always find myself saying something, right? Because I know people’s intentions. They may be thinking, someone needs a couch. I don’t know why they would think someone needs a couch with no cushions and cat piece stains all over, but someone needs a couch, right? But often say this, what you give communicates what you think about people who may not have, right? Just because you have things and you know there might be poor people in the world that need things, giving them your trash might be communicating what you think about them. Does that make sense? When you take some of the best that you have and give it to people in need, you’re honoring their identity. You’re communicating something about what you think of them. Same thing’s true with us as Christians, the way we give ourselves towards God communicates what we think about him. Just [inaudible 00:24:45]. I mean, you’re here on Sunday just because you don’t want God to be ticked at you. So you’re just doing him a little favor. Like God needs our favors?
What you do for the Lord communicates what you think about him. I need to move on. Well, that’s just one verse. I got to go faster that that. All right. But you see this played in their worship, this reverence. If you don’t come to God with a heart of worship, it’s worth just considering why. And I think about his glory, his grace revealed for your life and what that should mean to you. Second, I want to say this, do not wait for God’s glory and grace. [inaudible 00:25:24] says, “Create a place for people to worship.” If you look as this passage goes on, this is a very interesting section of scripture, verses 14 on it says, “And within the temple grounds, he, Jesus found those who are selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And he made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the temple area with the sheep and the oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money changers that overturned their tables and those who are selling the doves, he said, “Take these things away from here. Stop making my father’s house a place of business.” His disciples remembered that it was written zeal for your house will consume me.”
Now I love this passage because this is kind of like a paradigm shift from the way that we like to create our narratives about Jesus. Jesus is the one who wears the white robe and never gets a stain on it, right? He wakes up every morning, never has to comb his beautiful flowing hair, he’s made for the purpose plus commercials, right? That’s perfect Jesus. And when you take your perfect halo wearing Jesus, and then you read the story and you’re like, “Is Jesus from Nazareth or Portland? He’s going all Indiana Jones on people here.” And that’s just not what you typically think about when you think about Jesus, right? How in the world, and maybe you’re thinking of your own situation, you’re like, “If this world keeps going on the course it is, I might just lose it like Jesus. Is it okay for me to lose it like Jesus?” Let’s justify that kind of behavior. What is Jesus doing in this story? He’s walking into the temple and all of a sudden he’s going bananas on the people there. He makes a whip. He cracks the whip and he’s driving out everybody.
Well, what ends up happening is the Jews have at the temple, the Levites they examine the sacrifices that come into the temple to make sure that people aren’t giving lame animals. Jesus wants animals that are pure in the sacrifice because it’s a demonstration of Jesus who was perfect in his sacrifice for you. And so when people show up with halfheartedness towards God and give these lane couches with two cushions, the priests are like, “Just take it away. You’re out of your heart is not in the right place.” But what happens over time is that when people on special holidays like this, Passover, when they’re going into Jerusalem to make sacrifices, the priests have become corrupt, the Levites have become corrupt. And so what’s happening is they realize that they can just declare everyone’s animals as unclean. And now that these people have traveled such a far distance with their little land that they raised, when they get to the temple and they find out that their animal can’t be accepted, the priests are then selling the pure animals to the people at 10 times the rate. It’s like going to Disney World and getting trapped and having to buy a drink for $10, rather than $2 outside the gate, right?
That’s what they end up doing to people. They make them take that kind of sacrifice where they’re paying 10 times the amount of what they would normally pay for any other animal purchased anywhere else. Not only that, there’s also money changers at the temple, meaning when they would get to the temple, they had created their own money at the temple. It’s kind of like Chucky Cheese, your quarters are no good at Chucky Cheese. You’ve got to have Chucky Cheese dollars, right? It’s when they would show up to the temple to worship, they had Roman coins and they would be like, “Nah, sorry, your Roman coins are unclean here. You need Chucky Cheese quarters.” And so they’d switched them for temple money. And they could only spend the temple money at the temple. And they would use the temple money to purchase the animals. And then they would take a percentage off of the money that was converted. And so people were just getting gouged in prices and Jesus comes in and Jesus gets ticked at this because he understands they’ve lost sight of the purpose of their gathering.
It’s like asking, why are you here? Why am I here this morning? It should be to seize the opportunity to know God and to encourage people around me to do the same. To connect with him, to let him transform me. You could imagine a family without a whole lot in life. They want to teach their kids about worship and they decide to make this journey all the way to Jerusalem. And they have little Johnny raise a lamb because they want little Johnny to understand the sacrifice that God is ultimately going to give for them when the Messiah comes. And little Johnny raises the lamb, the family is so proud and they make the trip to the temple. And all of a sudden they get to the temple and find out little Johnny’s lamb is no good. And so they take little Johnny’s lamb and they charge the family all the money that they have just to get that one sacrifice they wanted to show their family how to really seek after the Lord and worship. And not only that to make matters worse, they take little Johnny’s lamb and they put it in a crowd with other animals. And a week later they’re selling little Johnny’s lamb as a sufficient sacrifice and little Johnny is looking at this thinking, “Man, this is a rip off.”
On top of that, in the temple, there was this area called the Court of the Gentiles. It was an outer court that went around the outside of the temple and anyone who wasn’t a Jew, wasn’t able to get into the closer courtyards of the temple to worship. But what God did was he created, he allowed a place for the Gentiles to gather if they considered to converting to Judaism, it was called the Court of the Gentiles. And what ends up happening in this story is that these people, these individuals selling these animals and exchanging money, when they got to the temple in order to sell these animals and exchange this money, the place they decided to do it was in the Court of the Gentiles. And so what happens if you’re an outsider trying to gather around to get to know this God, especially on this important day, well you got squeezed out, there was no place for you.
And Jesus became frustrated with this, that we gather as God’s people, there is to be a place that we make for anyone to know about him. For us, we shouldn’t be putting hindrances in front of people, we should just be making it easier to connect to the Lord and have this same zeal. If you want to know, how can I act like Jesus in the story? Am I allowed to go crazy? Don’t go berserk and start whipping people. This is his house, this isn’t your house. Jesus is perfect, we’re not perfect. Don’t do that. But if you want to match Jesus in that match Jesus in a zeal and passion for this world and knowing him. That’s what he’s saying to us. Carry this kind of heart for the lost, that when you go to the temple and you see that they’ve been squeezed out from a place to even get to know God and connect with him, that’s where Jesus empties the temple. That’s where Jesus is saying, “Look, I’m zealous for my house.” In Mark chapter 11, verse 17, Jesus says to us, “My house is intended to be a house of prayer for the nations, but you have turned it into a den of robbers.”
What I’m saying is guys, if you know Jesus, see everyone that comes through our doors as precious in his sight. See your opportunity to worship him for taking the time to love on the others. As a church, we ask ourselves the question consistently here, how can we help someone else take their next step in their journey with God? How can we make that step easy? Sometimes you come into church and that’s hard enough. And so we think about walking with God and growing in God, how can we help people just take that next step? And maybe it can just be a half step. Maybe that’s all there ready for. How can we help them take that next step? Well, can I tell you one of the best things, help people get to know you. Do you know, in a church, when new people come to church, the number one reason most people stay is they develop friendships with people in the church. By far the highest percentage of people that participate in community life do so because they were invited by a friend of that church that already attends.
It’s much harder when you walk through the door and you don’t know anybody. Friendship matters. To go further than that as a church, that’s why we do things like get connected, get grounded, get involved. So I invite people to things like Simply Christian, just come to a desert, get to know people, and then get grounded in your faith. Take Simply Christian class. Did I say Simply Christian twice? I meant the dessert that we do. What’s the dessert called that we do?
Newcomers dessert. There you go. Newcomers dessert, and then Simply Christian and then get into a small group. And then we just try to think of steps to make that journey easy for people, because we understand it’s not always easy. And that’s what Jesus is doing here, just giving the place for the unbelieving world to hear his good name, create a space for worship. And then last is this, Jesus changes everything. Jesus changes everything. Why do not want to waiver? Because of that truth guys, Jesus changes everything. It says in verse 18, “Then the Jews said to Jesus, “What sign do you show us as your authority for doing these things?” And Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I’ll raise it up.” And the Jews then said, “It took 46 years to build the temple and yet you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
What Jesus is doing now is this shift from looking at connecting to God in a building and understanding we connect to God through person, Jesus. Jesus is the temple. That’s the irony of this story is they’re so fixated on religion, they fail to recognize the very presence of God was in front of them and they’re actually arguing with him. We don’t connect to God because of a building, we connect to God because of a person, Jesus is the temple. Jesus now calls his followers, the temple because the spirit of God dwells in us, not in buildings. I think buildings are important because for us, we create really like a living room and God’s children gather, and God likes to gather with his children, but it’s not the building that makes it special, it’s the people that gather in it and the pursuit of their hearts.
And that’s what Jesus says in the story, Jesus says, “Destroy this temple in three days, I’ll build…” The Jews are looking at this thinking, “Jesus is saying, destroy this temple in three days, I will rebuild it. This guy is crazy.” I mean, right now, in this point in history, it’s taken the Jews several decades. They’re in the middle of a building project right now. It’s taking them several decades to get to this point. And it’s still going to be several decades before they complete the construction of the temple. And Jesus is saying after they’ve looked at decades of this building project that they’re halfway through, a little over halfway through, he’s like, “Yeah, knock it down. I’ll rebuild in three days.” But what they don’t understand is that Jesus is talking about himself because we connect to God, not through the building, but through the person. Jesus changes everything, the center of our faith in order to connect with him.
So let me just say this, why is the story here? Why is the story what God wants to share with us? You remember how it starts, right? We see glorious God introduced to becoming flesh for us. He invites us to come and see and follow him. And then Jesus performs the miracle of turning water into wine. And now in John chapter two verse 12, begins with Jesus showing up to the temple on Passover. This King coming on this perfect day for people to embrace him. But the irony is they rejected the very presence of God, they reject for the sake of religion. And what we see here is God’s passion for the least of these in these moments, that they’ve put all this religious performance in front of God, and they’ve even perverted it to the point that they’re trying to just gouge people for money. And God shows his passion for the lost by driving people out of the temple and making it just about worship, showing us that Jesus is the solution. He is the solution, “Destroy this in three days, I’ll rebuild it.”
And then in verse 22, this is what you see from the disciples. They sort of years later get this 10,000 foot view, this kind of aha moment. And I love this because this is saying to us, look, you followed Jesus and the world may not get it. They may not get it because what you follow is so good and so true, don’t doubt yourself. Don’t waver. People may be crazy around you, but don’t waiver, stay connected to Christ. Verse 22, “So when he was raised from the dead talking about Jesus, his disciples remembered that he had said this and they believed the scriptures and the word which was spoken about Jesus.” They had that aha moment in Christ, where Jesus changes everything. So how does this relate to us? In this world, people have pursued religion over the Lord. When we miss the Lord, we also forsake God’s heart for the hurting and the lost. But we all need that moment where God awakens us to the truth of who he is.
So we look at our country today and maybe you look at things around you and you just asked the question, how much further can things go? I mean, we definitely have problems and things seem a little bit crazy. What do you do? Well, I just want to say this, I don’t think we created the problems of our country overnight, and I don’t think the solution for our country will be solved overnight. But I do think we find the solution when we remain faithful to Jesus. When God’s people choose not to waiver, to revere him, to honor him, to make a space for people to know him and just recognize it’s Jesus that changes everything. Because here’s what can happen. People may look at politics and say, you know what? Politics, there’s problems with politics. And I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time on this, but people may see problems with politics. And so they want to get in there, “Save our country. Let’s go out there and just campaign for politics. And we’ll just make some laws to legislate change.” And I think laws have a place in the country, but here’s the reality, laws don’t change hearts. They change behavior, but they don’t change hearts.
What we need in our country isn’t the legislation for law change, what we need in our country is heart change. That only happens by revival. Revival only happens by Jesus. Jesus is the answer. Looking at our country recently, we had more racial tension than we’ve had in a while. It just comes to the surface and people go out and act crazy. And you may burn things, blow things up, maybe you think there’s a racial problem, maybe you don’t, I don’t want to even debate that, but if you do think so, how are you going to bring the change? You think a law is going to do that? You think making a law is going to make someone else not hate someone else? It’s not a law issue, it’s a heart issue. It’s a heart issue. It’s a place to stop and say, “Look, do you really think going out in streets and yelling at people and being mean towards people, burning things down and maybe creating a wall on the back end of that of people even listen to you? Is that ultimately going to change a heart?”
I mean, this is a brother to brother problem. This is a person to God problem. Yes, laws are important. Yes. Laws help protect, but it doesn’t ultimately reach the heart. What reaches the heart is Jesus. It’s Jesus where we can stop and say, “Look, it’s not about the law. If you just stopped short of the law, you do your country a disservice.” We could just say, where do people find value? Where does your worth come from? Why do you have purpose? Comes as a divine design from your creator who made you in his image.
And what you see in the rest of the story is you recognize as you get to the end of this chapter, Jesus realizes that he can’t entrust himself to people, but what does Christ do? One by one, he goes from this point in the gospels and he just proclaims his message. He meets people where they are and he loves them with the truth of who he is. Guys, you want to see change in this world, do what Jesus does in this moment. In the midst of their rejection understand the significance of people and refuse to waiver because Jesus changes everything.