Is Jesus in the temple? | John 2

Is Jesus in the temple? | John 2

This was fairly early in the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary, Jesus, and his disciples were invited to a wedding. So they had travelled a little distance away from the Sea of Galilee up into a little town called Cana. When they got there, there was a difficulty. The wine was over and that of course was a serious faux pas. That was a real problem at a wedding then, they were responsible to have sufficient to entertain the guests. So Mary asks Jesus to do something about this.

John 2:4 // “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” 

Jesus was saying, “Why are you asking me to do something here? The hour of my complete revelation of myself has not yet arrived.” So Mary instructed those servants to do whatever Jesus asks them to do. However, Jesus responded in a very helpful sort of way. He asked the pots to be filled with water and by the time it was served to the guests it became wine.

Now that demonstrated that Jesus is God.

Last time when I spoke on John 1, we answered the question – Who is Jesus? We saw that Jesus was God and one specific virtue of Jesus we learnt was that Jesus is the creator of all things that exist. So the creator created wine here.

It really should not be such a shocking thing to expect water to turn into grape juice. It happens normally and naturally all the time here on this earth. But it takes place over a process of time. It involves water which comes up from the soil into the grape wines.

It involves sunshine, time and all of that turns into beautiful grapes and when crushed these fruit produce the sweet juice of the wine.

This happens routinely in our world. But on this particular occasion, Jesus who had set up all the science of grape juice simply skipped all the time instead of sending it through the grape wines and using the sunshine, he just turned that water into wine. Jesus, God showed his power over his creation. He fast forwarded the process for a need. Today he can do the same for you, he can fast forward the miracle for you.

John 2:12-13 // After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days. 13When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now, Jesus’ disciples by and large were not city folk. They were mostly fishermen from the northern part of the Nation of Israel around the Sea of Galilee. So going to the big city would have been quite an event for them. If you have the privilege of visiting one of the big cities of our world, you would probably take your camera and probably look like a tourist, clicking photos.

I think it must have been that way for Jesus’ disciples.

Now this was not the first time Jesus had been to the temple. When Jesus was 12 years old, Mary, Joseph, and the family went to the temple. When they started back home they assumed he was with their little caravan or their group of friends who were travelling back to Nazareth, but after a day Jesus was not there. So panic struck their hearts. They went back to Jerusalem and searched all over the city of Jerusalem and finally found Jesus in the temple.

Jesus was not just in the temple, as a little boy of 12 years old, but he was sitting with the most learned men of all and was discussing with them the great scriptures of the OT and they were tremendously impressed with his understanding and his knowledge.

This Jesus was the Word. He is the one who had given the OT scriptures but these men did not realize that.

So when Jesus entered the temple area this time, it was not his first visit in flesh. However, when you study the Bible Jesus had been on that place on many occasions prior to his earthly ministry.

I personally believe it started all the way back at the creation. Historians and theologians after studying soil topography underneath the temple mount say this was probably the place where Almighty God, Jesus the creator took some of the dust and formed man, Adam. Oh! How close Adam was to his heart. He made him to have fellowship with God and God placed Adam and his wife, Eve there in a garden. What a beautiful place it was. Adam sinned and he had to be banished from that garden.

The Bible tells us in the Book of Genesis that God placed there a flaming sword turning every way to keep Adam and his descendants. To keep him from re-entering that garden where the tree of life was located. I think that flaming sword was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ himself. He is the Word of God which is a sharp two-edged sword.

So Jesus who would many, many hundreds of years later would become the way to the presence of God became the barrier there because God cannot permit sin in his presence.

As Jesus and his disciples made their way up those steps to the temple and began to enter the temple area, I wonder if Jesus’ thoughts went back to that time at creation.

I think there are other occasions in the scripture where we note that Jesus was in this area. Do you remember when the temple was first built? It was not this building which Jesus and his disciples approached on this occasion. But some nearly 1000 years before (BC 953), Solomon had built that first temple on this sight. What a beautiful structure it was? I think beautiful beyond our imaginations today, very costly, very elegant.

Do you recall in the OT when Solomon and all the people dedicated that temple in 2 Chronicles 7?

As the sacrifices were prepared, suddenly fire from God came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifices which had been prepared. Solomon and the priests did not light that fire, God lit it himself. Then we are told that the glory of God filled that temple.

We are told in the Bible that there in that most holy place, the holy of holies, there was no lamp. There was no artificial source of light but that room was lit by the presence of God, the glory which resided there above the mercy seat. That was Jesus, that was God. That is where he dwelt among men. So Jesus was there at the temple mount at creation, then when the temple was built his presence was there.

That was God himself dwelling among men in the temple.

I think Jesus as he went to the temple in John 2, Jesus also must have remembered the time when he had departed that temple. The children of Israel had gone into idolatry and wickedness. They turned their back on their God who had been so good to them. Prophet Ezekiel in Chapter 10 & 11 records for us, his vision of that event when God left his temple. Ezekiel saw that cloud of the glory of God as it lifted up from the temple and made its way some distance away and then stopped. I am sure we do not comprehend what was taking place in our human understanding.

It must have been as if God, Jesus who is God was looking back at that place with great longing and great pain in his heart, but leaving it because his people had left him.

That temple of Solomon had ultimately been destroyed in 587 BC; 2 Chronicles 36:6-7, 10. Eventually, God permitted the children of Israel to rebuild the temple in 520-516 BC; Ezra 5:2, 6:16. Zerubbabel and Ezra were instrumental in that. The temple had been rebuilt, not in all of its splendor and glory. As a matter of fact the older folk of Israel who remembered the glory of Solomon’s temple when they looked upon the newly rebuilt temple, they wept. They were happy that they had a temple but their hearts were filled with sorrow as they realized that the glory of the temple was nothing like it had been before.

So the temple was rebuilt. Some 20 years before Jesus’ birth the temple had fallen into such a state of disrepair that Herod who was seeking to gain the favour of the Jews, set out in great expense to rebuild this temple to add to it a great deal; 20 BC. For nearly 40 years now that project had been worked upon and completed.

Now, as Jesus walked into the temple we understand Jesus had been interested in this piece of ground, this building, the temple which was constructed there.

So as Jesus and his disciples came to the temple, his attention was riveted on the details of what was going on around him. Jesus looked around at the place and his heart was so heavy within him because he did not see sincere worship of Almighty God. Instead he saw all the hustle and bustle of the Passover which pointed to him, the Lamb of God who had been so introduced by the John the Baptist who had come to take away the sins of the world.

Jesus saw the great beehive of activity in the temple, people simply going through the motions and using the circumstances to get rich, to make money for themselves. He saw all the beasts which were being sold there for sacrifices. He saw the money changers who were short changing people and guilty of usury as they change their money because Jews came at the Passover from many different countries, so they had to exchange their money.

Jesus saw the heart of man and he saw all the wickedness which was going on.

Also, Jesus stopped, took some chords and he made a scourge of whip out of those chords and then Jesus started through that temple, not as a raging person out of control but with the holy anger of God for he was God.

He started driving those beasts out of the temple which were being sold for sacrifices and Jesus went up to the money changers tables and he tipped them over and their money, their coins scattered hither and yon and the money changes scrambling for their money on the floor and Jesus said something to them. 

John 2:16 // To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of there! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

Well you can imagine the consternation and the return anger that came from the religious leaders.

They said to Jesus, “What right and authority you have for doing this? How dare you interrupt these proceedings?” 

John 2:18 // Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

John 2:19 // Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days.” These leaders responded with incredulity. 

John 2:20 // The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 

John 2:21 // But the temple he had spoken of was his body.

Many years after Jesus had gone to the cross and had been crucified on this very same mountain, temple mount, further up north outside the limits of the city. When Jesus had been crucified as the Lamb of God and all seemed to be lost to these disciples.

They saw Jesus had risen from the dead on the third day: John 2:22 // After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

When Jesus died that temple became his body.

Today you and I need not go to a temple to worship God, Jesus, his body became the temple for the believers in Christ. When anyone puts their trust in Jesus, Jesus Christ comes into our heart and our bodies become the temple of God.

Ephesians 3:16-17 // I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

1 Corinthians 3:16 // Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? In the New Testament we are the Temple of God. God dwells in our body.

So what happened to the OT temple?

On the day Jesus was crucified something happened to the literal temple. The curtain separating the innermost section of the Temple, called the Holy of Holies and the Holy place was torn in two from top to bottom. 

Matthew 27:50-51 // And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Remember the curtain was torn from top to bottom. It wasn’t torn by human hands, but by the hand of God. It was a symbolic event meaning no longer would His presence be confined to a temple or a room separated from His people. The barrier had been removed. That’s why you don’t have to go through a priest to meet God. Hence, that’s why our faith isn’t based on a building or ritual sacrifices.

Anyone who calls upon the Lord can have direct access to God through His Son Jesus Christ.

If you believe in God and have a relationship with Him, you are now His temple. This means just like in the OT temple God’s presence dwells in us in order that we can worship, pray, and commune with God always.

What about the temple mount now? 

Ezekiel 40-48 speaks of the third temple being built. After the rapture the antichrist will rule from the temple.  2 Thessalonians 2:4. After the tribulation, Jesus will come and defeat the antichrist. He will establish his kingdom on this earth for a 1000 years called the Millennium. The literal temple will be reinstated in the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. The temple on this sight ultimately is going to be the place from which God would administer his great kingdom of peace in this world. We are still waiting for that today.

Lessons from John 2:

1. Jesus can fast-forward your miracle

2. You are important to God

The temple was very important for God. Your body is the temple now and you are very important for God. Is Jesus in the temple today?

3. God never dwells in ungodliness

When the people were wicked, the glory of the Lord departed the temple.

4. Jesus has come to cleanse you today

In this church I am speaking to many who know Jesus as savoiur. How is your life in light to the Word of God? The people in the temple were trying to make merchandise of things. They are interested in getting ahead, getting rich financially, making money. They really did not have any devotion. Is your focus on your circumstances and yourself and your money or are you focused on God? Are you living for Jesus or are you cold in your heart to Jesus. Undoubtedly I am speaking to some who need revival in your life and I would invite you right now to pray as others have done.

Heavenly father, I have sinned. Please forgive me and restore my fellowship and wash me clean and help me to live for you from this point on.

If you will do that, 1 John 1:9 He forgives our sins, we can walk in the light and fellowship with him. I invite you to do that

5. The resurrection is the proof that Jesus is God

My dear friend whether you know Jesus is God. When Jesus rose from the dead, he gave the one sign which cannot be argued. He showed the one sign which would prove that he is the living eternal God. Do you know Jesus as your savior today?

Dear friend if you have never called upon God to forgive your sins and save you based upon what Jesus did, I invite you to do that right now. If you are willing to acknowledge your need just in your own heart right where you are seated would you pray to God and tell him, “I know that I am a sinner. I acknowledge that. I believe that Jesus is God. He is the only begotten Son of God. I believe that he died for me and that he rose from the grave and I am asking you to apply what Jesus did to my account. Forgive my sins because of Jesus and his blood that he gave for me.” If you pray that sincerely, God will save you.

Additional Notes: History of the OT temple

  1. The first temple built by King Solomon. BC 953; 2 Chronicles 7.
  2. Destruction of Solomon’s Temple by King Nebuchadnezzar. BC 587; 2 Chronicles 36:6-7, 10.
  3. Construction of the second temple by Zerubbabel. BC 516; Ezra 5:2, 6:16.
  4. Renovation of the second temple by King Herod, 20 BC, also called Herod’s Temple.
  5. Destruction of the second temple by the Romans, AD 70.

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