“Righteous Smack-down” – John 2:13-25

February 9th, 2020

John 2:13-25

“Righteous Smack-down”

Aux Text:1 Corinthians 6:19-20 & Ephesians 5:25-33

Call to Worship: Psalm 84


Service Orientation: God wants an intimate, espousal relationship with mankind.  But obstacles and distractions get in the way.  The passion of Jesus drives him to do whatever is necessary to restore and reconcile this breach with mankind . . . even if it means rejection, humiliation, heartache and death.


Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. — Ephesians 5:31-32


Background Information:

  • He was not interested to tell men when Jesus cleansed the Temple; he was supremely interested in telling men that Jesus did cleanse the Temple, because that cleansing was the act of the promised Messiah of God. All the likelihood is that John put this tremendous incident here to set in the very forefront of his story the great fact that Jesus was the Messiah of God come to cleanse the worship of men and to open the door to God.  It is not the date that John is interested in; the date does not matter; his great concern is to show that Jesus’ actions prove him to be the promised one of God.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 108)
  • (v. 13) The celebration lasted seven days and included the killing of a year-old male lamb, without blemish, for the feast. The participants recalled how the blood of the lamb at the first Passover had spared the firstborn Israelites from the angel of death.  Now the very Lamb of God was attending that feast.  (Gary P. Baumler, The People’s Bible: John, 43)
  • (v. 13) Every male Jew, from the age of twelve and up, was expected to attend the Passover at Jerusalem, a feast celebrated to commemorate the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egyptian bondage. (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: John, 121)
  • (v. 14) The Word does not say that all selling by the church is sinful. From what is described, we might rather conclude that whatever detracts from worship, whatever distorts the church’s mission, whatever cheats God’s children should be driven from the church like the cattle from the temple.  (Gary P. Baumler, The People’s Bible: John, 45)
  • (v. 14) The price of sacrificial animals was much higher in the temple area than elsewhere. In order to purchase the animals, travelers from other lands would need local currency, and the temple tax had to be paid in local currency; so money changers exchanged foreign money, but made huge profits by charging exorbitant exchange rates.  Jesus was angry at the dishonest, greedy practices of the money changers and merchants, and he particularly disliked their presence on the temple grounds.  They were making a mockery of God’s house of worship.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 41-2)
  • (v. 14) Every Jew over nineteen years of age had to pay his yearly temple tax of a half-shekel, the equivalent of two days’ wages. The Gentile coins from Rome, Greece, Egypt, and even Palestine were too unclean for this “sacred” tax, so they had to be exchanged for a half-shekel.  The hidden cost of this exchange equaled another day’s wages.  Then there was also the cost of purchasing a sheep, ox, or dove for the sacrifice, which must be without blemish.  These came from the temple herds or flocks and were outrageously overpriced.  Little wonder the temple coffers were full and overflowing.  (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 73)
  • (v. 14) There was a tax that every Jew over nineteen years of age must pay. That was the Temple tax.  It was necessary that all should pay that tax so that the Temple sacrifices and the Temple ritual might be carried out day by day.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 109)
  • (v. 14) It is not known when this practice started, but it began as a convenience for those who came with animals and foreign money. For the purpose of paying the temple tax, Roman money or livestock had to be converted into the sacred shekel or double drachma.  In time avaricious motives cloaked this convenience.  Jesus found the fore-court, the court of the Gentiles, turned into a bustling market.  The spirit of the Law was violated, God’s house was now being exploited as a merchandising gimmick.  Pilgrims were at the mercy of these profiteers.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 41)
  • (v. 15) If a worshiper bought a victim outside the Temple, it was to all intents and purposes certain that it would be rejected after examination. Again that might not have mattered much, but a pair of doves could cost as little as 4p outside the Temple, and as much as 75p inside.  Here again was bare-faced extortion at the expense of poor and humble pilgrims, who were practically blackmailed into buying their victims from the Temple booths if they wished to sacrifice at all–once more a glaring social injustice aggravated by the fact that it was perpetrated in the name of pure religion.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 110-11)
  • (v. 15) Again, it was a deliberately planned victimization of the poor pilgrims. It was nothing more or less than legalized robbery.  Still worse, these Temple shops were known as the Booths of Annas, and were the property of the family of the High Priest.  That is why Jesus was brought first before Annas when He was arrested (Jn 18:13).  Annas was delighted to gloat over this Jesus, who had struck such a blow at his evil monopoly.  Jesus cleansed the Temple with such violence, because the Temple traffic was being used to exploit helpless men and women.  It was not simply that the buying and selling interfered with the dignity and the solemnity of worship.  It was that the very worship of the house of God was being used to exploit the worshipers.  It was the passion for social justice which burned in Jesus’ heart when He took this drastic step.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible:  The Gospel of Luke, pp. 251-52)
  • (v. 15) It is not possible to resolve with certainty whether only one cleansing of the temple took place, or two; but the arguments for one are weak and subjective, while the most natural reading of the texts favors two. (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 178)
  • (v. 16) The attentive reader will observe that He distinguished, carefully, between the different objects of His displeasure. The oxen and sheep He drove out, and these were in no danger of being lost by this treatment.  The money of the changers He drove out, and these were in no danger of being lost by this treatment.  The money of the changers He threw on the ground, and this could be easily picked up again and carried away.  The doves He simply ordered to be taken away: had He done more with them, they might have flown away, and been lost to their owners.  Thus, the perfect One combined wisdom with zeal.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 98)
  • (v. 17) Psalm 69 is definitely a messianic psalm that is quoted several times in the NT: Ps 69:4 (Jn 15:25); Ps 69:8 (Jn 2:17; Rom 15:3); Ps 69:21 (Mt 27:34, 48); and Ps 69:22 (Rom 11:9-10).  (Warren W. Wiersby, Be Alive, 42)
  • (v. 17)The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” is quoted from Ps 69:9. The NT quotes from this Psalm seven times, and it is quoted as the words of the Messiah.  (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 117)
  • (v. 18) Sēmeion means a sign. This is John’s favorite word.  To him a miracle was not simply an astonishing happening; it was not simply a deed of power; it was a sign. That is to say, it told men something about the person who did it; it revealed something of his character; it laid bare something of his nature; it was an action through which it was possible to understand better and more fully the character of the person who did it.  To John the supreme thing about the miracles of Jesus was that they told men something about the nature and the character of God.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 119)
  • (v. 18) The popular idea of the Messiah was connected with wonders. So the Jews said: “By this act of yours you have publicly claimed to be the Messiah.  Now show us some wonder which will prove your claim.”  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 115)
  • (v. 19) It was in 19 B.C. that Herod had begun to build that wondrous Temple. It was not until A.D. 64 that the building was finally finished. It was forty-six years since it had been started; it was to be another twenty before it was ended.  Jesus shattered the Jews by telling them that all its magnificence and splendor and all the money and skill that had been lavished on it were completely irrelevant; that he had come to show men a way to come to God without any Temple at all.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 116)
  • (v. 19) Jesus’ ambiguous statement is a good example of how he encouraged people to think and inquire more deeply. Along with his parables, these statements accomplished the dual task of frustrating the half-hearted and self-righteous while at the same time piquing the curiosity of those who were sincere seekers.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 45)
  • (v. 19) The Bible historian Josephus declares that the temple mentioned was the temple Herod rebuilt, and explains that the work on this structure had been going on for 46 years at that particular time. So extensive were the repairs and reconstruction that 18,000 men were employed in the rebuilding of this temple, and some work was still being done on it when Jesus entered and drove out the money changers.  (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 121)
  • (v. 20) The Jews see only the literal sanctuary. Had they studied the scriptures with a believing heart, they would have known that the temple, together with all its furniture and ceremonies, was only a type, destined for destruction (cf. especially Ps 40:6, 7 and Jer 3:16).  Because of their unbelief and darkened minds they now point to the fact that the temple has been in process of building for forty-six years (for chronology see Fl. Josephus, Antiquities, Bk. 15, xi; E. Schürer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Christ, sec. Ed., I, 438; and our Bible Survey, pp. 61, 415.)  Herod the Great began to reign in the year 37 B.C., and, according to Josephus, began building the temple in the eighteenth year of his reign; hence, in the year 20-19 B.C.  So, in the Spring of 27 A.D. the Jews could say that it had already taken forty-six years to build their temple.  It is interesting to note that this grand structure was not finished until. . . just a few years before it was destroyed by the Romans!  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: John, 125-6)
  • (v. 21) In effect our Lord staked the truth of His mission on His resurrection. He did the same when He said that He would give the Jewish nation no sign but that of the Prophet Jonas (Mt 12:39).  When the Apostles began to preach, they continually referred the Jews to Christ’s resurrection, as the proof of His Messiahship.  And why did they do so?  One main reason was, because their Master had told the Jews, the first time He appeared in the temple, that the great sign they must look to was His own rising again from the dead.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 116)
  • (v. 22) This sentence is an interesting proof of two things. For one thing, it shows how much light was brought to the minds of the disciples by our Lord’s resurrection, and how many hard sayings of His were at once unraveled and made plain.  –For another thing, it shows how long truth may lie dormant in men’s minds without being understood, or doing them any service.  It is one of the special offices of the Holy Ghost to bring things to remembrance (Jn 14:26).  We must not suppose religious teaching does no good because it is not understood immediately.  It may do good long after the teacher is dead.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 117-8)
  • (v. 22) John says that “they believed the scripture.” What scripture?  John means that scripture which haunted the early church–“. . . or let thy godly one see the Pit” (Ps 16:10).  Peter quoted it at Pentecost (Acts 2:31); Paul quoted it at  Antioch (Acts 13:35).  It expressed the confidence of the church in the power of God and in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 117)
  • (vss. 23-24) The words believed in Jn 2:23 and commit in Jn 2:24 are the same Greek word. These people believed in Jesus, but He did not believe in them!  They were “unsaved believers”!  It was one thing to respond to a miracle but quite something else to commit oneself to Jesus Christ and continue in His Word (Jn 8:30-31).  (Warren W. Wiersby, Be Alive, 44)
  • Jesus had a thorough understanding of human nature. The principle stated here is basic to his dealing with all the personalities mentioned in the Gospel.  He could read people more accurately than a doctor can read physical symptoms in diagnosing an illness.  The prelude of these verses (23-25) is introductory to the three typical interviews in chs. 3 and 4:  Nicodemus the Pharisee, the Samaritan woman, and the royal official at Cana.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 46)


The questions to be answered are . . . What all is going on here?  Why does John reveal this event on the heels of turning water into wine?  What are the long-term implications of this event?


Answer: John is showing us that Jesus has passion and zeal for His Bride.  He is not content with just reconciling us to Himself; but Jesus desires for us to become ONE with God so much so that we actually become God’s Temple as Jesus is the Temple.


The popular Jewish literature of this time informs us that the Jews expected the Messiah, when he came, to purge Jerusalem and the temple of Gentiles and foreigners.  Jesus’ attitude and action, however, was “exactly the reverse.”  As the true Messiah, the one who came to fulfill the Scriptures, Jesus “does not clear the temple of Gentiles, but for them.”  He clears the temple so that Gentiles might worship God!  So Jesus quotes from Isaiah 56 because it is there where the prophet “speaks of the extension of God’s salvation to people who formerly were excluded from it,” where Isaiah speaks of how the temple is not the sole property of Israel but is a witness to the nations.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 302)


The three vignettes in this passage (vv. 12-25) underscore His deity with unmistakable clarity.  As God He single-handedly cleansed the temple with messianic zeal; as God He accurately predicted His own resurrection; and as God He truly knew the contents of men’s hearts.

At the same time, these three accounts also picture the process of salvation.  The first scene, the cleansing of the temple, graphically depicts God’s hatred of sin and impurity.  The second scene, the discussion of Jesus’ resurrection, reveals that God provides new life in Christ, who “was raised because of our justification” (Rom 4:25).  And the final scene, the shallow belief of the people, reveals that God’s provision of salvation comes only through genuine saving faith.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 96)


The Word for the Day is . . . Temple


If a bridegroom on his wedding night sat down to negotiate terms of infidelity—”OK, you’ve guaranteed the future by promising to stick with me regardless.  Just how far can I go with other women?  Can I hug them?  Kiss them?  Go to bed with them?  How often?  How many?  —we would call such a husband a fraud, a pathologically sick man.  If he approaches marriage that way, he will never learn the meaning of true love.  And if a Christian approaches forgiveness the same way— “Let’s see, God has promised forgiveness in advance.  What can I get away with?  How far can I push it?”  —that Christian will end up equally impoverished.  Paul’s response says it all:  “God forbid!” (Philip Yancey;  Finding God in Unexpected Places, 186)


What is John revealing here?:

I-  The Temple is God’s house for all nations.  (Isa 56:7; Mk 11:16)


The Temple consisted of a series of courts leading into the Temple proper and to the Holy Place.  There was first the Court of the Gentiles, then the Court of the Women, then the Court of the Israelites, then the Court of the Priests.  All this buying and selling was going on in the Court of the Gentiles which was the only place into which a Gentile might come.  Beyond that point, access to him was barred.  So then if there was a Gentile whose heart God had touched, he might come into the Court of the Gentiles to meditate and pray and distantly touch God.  The Court of the Gentiles was the only place of prayer he knew.

The Temple authorities and the Jewish traders were making the Court of the Gentiles into an uproar and a rabble where no man could pray.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 113)


IA-  Where God dwells.  (Ex 25:8; 1 Kgs 8:13, 39; 1 Chr 28:2; Ps 9:11; 46:4; 48:2; 74:2; 76:2; 132:7ff; Isa 6:1-6; 8:18; Jer 17:12)


A number of texts make clear that Yahweh “chose” Zion to be His own dwelling-place (Ps 132:13f.; cf. 1 Kgs 8:13; Ps 9:11 [MT 12]; 46:4 [MT 5]; 74:2; 76:2 [MT 3]; Isa 8:18; etc.)  Zion was the “city of God” (Ps 48:1f. [MT2f.]; cf. 99:2).  More specifically, Yahweh was said to “reign” as king in Zion (Ps 48:2 [MT 3]; cf. Jer 8:19), to be enthroned there (Jer 14:21; 17:12).  It seems clear that the cherubim were envisaged as forming the throne on which Yahweh sat (2 Kgs 19:14f.; Ps 80:1 [MT2]; 99:1; Isa 6:1-5; etc), invisible but majestic, with the ark as His footstool (1 Chr 28:2; Ps 132:7).  It should perhaps be added that Yahweh’s “dwelling” on Zion was by no means regarded as a limitation on His power (cf. Ps 134:3) or on the sphere of His authority (cf. Ps 47; 48:9f. [MT 10f.]; and note that Ps 24:7-10 follows 24:1f.).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Four, 764)


Yahweh’s dwelling is repeatedly insisted to be “in heaven” (Dt 26:15; 1 Kgs 8:30, 39, 43, 49); in fact, “heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain” Him (1 Kgs 8:27).  The temple was built “for the name of the Lord” (1 Kgs 3:2; 5:3, 5 [MT 17, 19]; 8:44, 48), and only His name is said to dwell there (2 Sm 7:13 qualifies 7:5; cf. 1 Kgs 8:16-20, 29; 9:3; 2 Kgs 21:7).  As a result, Yahweh hears prayers which are directed toward the temple where He has put His name, but He hears them “from heaven [his] dwelling-place” (1 Kgs 8:29f., 33f., 35f., 42-45, 48f.).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Four, 764)


IB-  Where sacrifices for sin are made to be reconciled to God.  (Ex 20:24; Lv 7:16-17; 9:7 ; 10:19; 15:30; 16:24; 17:5-9;Ps 51:16;Isa 53:12; 56:7; Jer 7:22; Heb 5:3; 7:27; 8:3; 9:23-28; 10:1-18)


IC-  Where His Bride can meet with God.  (Ex 25:22; Ps 15; 24:3-6; 46:5-11; 61:4; 132:13-18; Mk 11:17; Jn 1:14; 1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16-18)


The primary focus of texts which speak of the temple as Yahweh’s “dwelling-place” is not, however, to provide an answer to the physical (or metaphysical) problem of where He “lives.”  Rather these texts point to Yahweh’s presence in the midst of His people as proof of His special love for them and of the favors and privileges He confers upon them.  That He has chosen Zion for His dwelling means that He will pour out His bounty upon her people (Ps 132:13-18).  His “blessing” is said to proceed from Zion (Ps 128:5; 133:3; 134:3).  From His dwelling there He offers His shelter and protection (27:5; 61:4 [MT 5]; 68:5 [MT 6]; etc.).  In the language of the “Deuteronomist,” Yahweh’s “eyes” are “open night and day toward this house,” so that He hears from heaven prayers offered “toward this place” (1 Kgs 8:29); but this terminology is merely a refinement based on the widespread practice of directing one’s prayers toward God in His temple (cf. 2 Kgs 19:14f.; Ez 10;1; Ps 5:7 [Mt 8]; 28:2; 138:2; Dn 6:10), and expecting Him to answer from there (Ps 3:4 [MT 5]; 14:7; 18:6 [MT 7]; 20:2 [MT 3]; cf. Am 1:2).

But Yahweh’s presence in His temple meant more to His people than the bestowing of material blessings and protection.  It opened the possibility for fellowship with Him by the “righteous” who were fit for His presence (Ps 15; 24:3-6; 118:20).  Many Psalms testify to the delight which the pious found in beholding the “beauty of the Lord” in His temple (Ps 27;4; cf. 42:1f. [MT 2f.]; 63:1f. [MT 2f.]; 84:1-4 [MT 2-5]) and in feasting on His goodness there (36:8f. [MT 9f.]; 65:4 [MT 5]).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Four, 765)


II-  As God’s presence, the Temple is to remain holy. (Lv 11:44-45; Nm 25:1-13; Isa 1:11-17; Jer 7:11; Hos 8:13; Zech 14:20-21; Mal 3:1-4; Mt 21:13; Mk 11:17; Lk 19:46; 1 Cor 3:17; 1 Pt 1:16)


The Lord, who had loved his people like a husband, was now being asked to tolerate rivals inside his own house (Jer 31:32).  Surely he whose name is Jealous (Ex 34:14) wouldn’t put up with this!  (Paul O. Wendland, The People’s Bible, 2 Chr, 385)


Irreverence toward God is only a symptom of an idolatrous image of God that is man-made.  Dry ritualism indicates that our God is far away and dead.  Joyless performance reveals an arid Deity.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: John, 70)


He has taken it upon himself to act in the capacity of a Reformer.  Now let him prove that he had the right to act as he did.  But this request was stupid.  The temple-cleansing was itself a sign.  It was a definite anticipatory fulfillment of Mal 3:1-3 (“The Lord whom ye seek will suddenly come to the temple. . . he will purify the sons of Levi”) and also–as was shown under verse 17–of Ps 69.  The majestic manner in which Jesus performed this task, so that none, seeing him, even dared to resist, was proof sufficient that the Messiah had entered the temple and was purging it, as had been predicted.  What additional sign could one ask for?  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: John, 124)


It was not a sin to buy an animal or a dove to be offered in sacrifice.  The sin was in the fact that the money changers and those who sold the animals were making big business out of what should have been sacred as unto the Lord.  Religion is becoming “big business” in our day, and many men are making merchandise of the souls of men.  (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 113)


What enraged Jesus was that pilgrims to the Passover who could ill afford it, were being fleeced at an exorbitant rate by the money-changers.  It was a rampant and shameless social injustice–and what was worse, it was being done in the name of religion.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 110)


Phinehas’s reputation for zeal stems from his violent opposition to Baal worship as recounted in Nm 25; to purge Israel of this contamination he slew Zimri the Israelite and the Midianite woman with whom he was “playing the harlot” (cf. v. 1), as they were engaged in the very act (vv. 6-8).  Elijah’s zeal was demonstrated in his slaughter of the prophets of Baal and of Asherah, who had induced Israel to forsake the covenant, throw down the altars of Yahweh, and kill Yahweh’s prophets (1 Kgs 19:10, 14).  Both Phinehas and Elijah were held up as exemplars of zeal, and of the divine reward accompanying such faithfulness, in Mattathias’s deathbed speech (1 Macc 2:54, 58) and elsewhere in the literature of the Second Temple Period (on Phinehas, see Sir 45:23f.; 1 Macc 2:26; 4 Macc 18:12; cf. Pseudo-Philo 47:1; Mish Sanhedrin ix.6; on Elijah, see Sir 48:1f.).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Four, 1176)


It was important that worship of God in its precincts be pure (2:13-17); it is even more important to recognize that the temple itself pointed forward to a better and final meeting-point between God and human beings (cf. 1:51; 4:21-24).  Jesus cleansed the temple; under this typological reading of the OT, he also replaced it, fulfilling its purposes.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 182)


This cleansing was significantly appropriate during Passover because that was the time when all the Jews were supposed to cleanse their houses of all leaven (yeast).  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 43)


He acted as he did because God’s house was being desecrated.  In the Temple there was worship without reverence.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 112)


When your loyalty is to God on weekends but only to the bottom line on weekdays, you’re driving a wedge between yourself and God.  It would be like saying to your spouse, “As long as I’m home, I’m committed to you.  But when I go off to work, well, I might fool around a little.”  That would create a rift in your relationship, wouldn’t it?  Similarly, if you’re living a fragmented faith, you’re saying to God, “I’m committed to you in certain areas of my life.  But you need to know that when I’m at work, I’ve got a mistress called my career.”  Doesn’t it make sense that this would stymie your relationship with him?  (Lee Strobel; God’s Outrageous Claims, 52)


When we become sufficiently desensitized to the greatness and holiness of God because of the irreverent spirit and the idolatrous concept of God affecting our lives, our manner of service is also affected.  Just as in the temple, the profit motive moves easily into the religious life of the church.  Since in our view God is impotent, effete, and obsolete, we rationalize that we need to bring in the things of the world to help him out.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: John, 69)


III-  Jesus is the Temple . . . without Christ, we are not. (Mt 27:40; Jn 4:21; Acts 7:44-48; 17:24; 1 Cor 3:9-17; 6:19-20; 2 Cor 6:16-18; Eph 2:21; Col 1:19; 2:9-10; Heb 9:7-14 Rv 21:22)


Christ Himself is the ultimate dwelling of God with human beings.  Mt 1:23 says that Christ is called “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.”  In Jn 2:19-22 Jesus says, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”  And John comments, “But the temple he had spoken of was his body.”  Jn 1:14 says that the “Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (KJV), deliberately using a word for “dwelling” that alludes to the OT tabernacle.  Finally, Jn 14:11 says, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”  This and similar language in John about the mutual indwelling of the Father and the son presents us with the ultimate form of indwelling, namely, the original indwelling of the Persons of the Trinity.  This original uncreated indwelling must be the model for all instances of God dwelling with human beings who are made in the image of God.  (Vern Poythress, Ph.D., The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses, 32-3)


John explains that what Jesus was really referring to (in v. 19) was his own body, that body in which the Word became flesh (1:14).  The Father and the incarnate Son enjoy unique mutual indwelling (14:10-11).  Therefore it is the human body of Jesus that uniquely manifests the Father, and becomes the focal point of the manifestation of God to man, the living abode of God on earth, the fulfilment of all the temple meant, and the center of all true worship (over against all other claims of ‘holy space’, 4:20-24).  In this ‘temple’ the ultimate sacrifice would take place; within three days of death and burial, Jesus Christ, the true temple, would rise from the dead.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 182)


The tabernacle was but a copy of the heavenly sanctuary (Heb 8:5; 9:24; cf. also Acts 7:44; Rv 15:5) and was designed to foreshadow things to come (10:1).  Its regulations were temporary (9:10), its sacrifices imperfect (9:9; 10:1-4), and the access it afforded to the divine presence very limited (9:7f.).  But Christ has offered Himself as a perfect, once-for-all sacrifice (9:12-14, 26).  He has entered the heavenly sanctuary not made with human hands (8:2; 9;11), thereby opening a “new and living way” into God’s presence for all believers (10:19-22; cf. 6:19).  Believers can therefore approach the “throne of grace” (i.e., the heavenly counterpart of the tabernacle “mercy seat”) with the confidence that they will obtain the mercy and grace that they need (4:16).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Four, 705)


Don’t ever think that the temple building, the ark of the covenant, the sacrifices, or the lampstand, altars or incense were ways to God.   They are not.  Jesus said, “I am the way the Truth and the Life.  NO ONE can come to the Father except through Me (Jn 14:6). — PK


His death as the ultimate sacrificial Lamb would render the Jerusalem temple obsolete (cf. 4:21; Mt 27:51); and His resurrection as the triumphant Lord would lay the foundation for a new, spiritual temple in its place–namely, the church (1 Cor 3:16-17; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:19-22).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 94)


Jesus was zealous for the purity of worship–worship that he was going to make universally available through his death.  Only by clarifying how the old system was intended could the new system have a place.  Only by “destroying the temple” would Jesus be able to offer all believers personal access to God.  Only by fulfilling the system of sacrifice could he become the perfect and final sacrifice for all mankind.  The eventual destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. was the final evidence that the old system had been superseded by Jesus’ work on the cross and in the lives of those who believe in him.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 46)


To talk like this does more than simply add a bit of drama to shock the readers.  The intention is that Jesus be seen as the new–and improved–tabernacle/temple.  This is not to reject the OT versions of the temple as merely ritualistic and now, thankfully, done away with.  It is, rather, to understand the reality to which the OT structures pointed, a reality that reaches its climax in Christ.  Hence, John continues in Jn 1:14:  “We have seen his glory.”  The glory that resided above the ark in the Most Holy Place, to which the high priest alone had access once a year, is now walking the streets of Jerusalem for all to see, a truly “portable” tabernacle!

The coming of Christ is not a dulling of the majesty of the OT tabernacle but a heightening of what it stood for.  True, the ornate decorations and furnishings are not here, but something far better is.  Inasmuch as the tabernacle was an earthly representation of a heavenly reality, how much more so is Christ, who–to continue John’s words in 1:14–“came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  Christ fulfills the purpose for which the tabernacle was built.  (Peter Enns, The NIV Application Commentary: Exodus, 555)


Jesus had made clear in Mt 12:6 that He is greater than the temple.  Indeed, He is Lord of the temple, and He has the right to do in it whatever He desires, including throwing it into disarray.  It must have been quite shocking for Jewish leaders who prided themselves in religious practices at the temple to have Jesus come in and turn it upside down.  Who does He think He is?  Is He in charge of this place?  Yes, as a matter of fact, He is.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 282-3)


By these words, he shows that all authority over the Temple belongs to him, since his power is so great in building the true Temple of God.  (Calvin’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, 97)


Implicit in the claim that Jesus would replace the temple “made with hands” with one “not made with hands” (Mk 14:58) is the conviction that the Jerusalem temple, whatever role it may once have played in the divine economy, was due to be replaced in the new order brought about by Jesus.  The inadequacy of the old order and the superiority of the new are apparent in Mt 12:6 (“something greater than the temple is here”) as well.  This theme finds emphatic statement in Jn 4:20-24.  Worship at the temple in Jerusalem was doubtless part of God’s purpose at one time, for in the statement that “salvation is from the Jews” (4:22) Jesus in part sides with the Jews in their dispute with the Samaritans over the legitimate cultic site (cf. V. 20).  But such a worship belongs in any case to the past, for “the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.”  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Four, 775)


It is Passover time; he has already told us that Jesus is God’s Passover lamb, and now he goes to Jerusalem at the time when liberation, freedom, rescue from slavery was being celebrated.  Somehow, John wants us to understand, what Jesus did in the Temple is a hint at the new meaning he is giving to Passover.  (N. T. Wright, John for Everyone, Part One, 26)


What, then, did the Lord really mean?  The first part of the saying must not be interpreted as a direct command, as if Jesus were actually ordering them to break down or destroy.  The meaning of the entire saying may be paraphrased as follows:

“Even though you, Jews, by your wickedness, are clearly breaking down the sanctuary of my body–and even though, as a result, you are also destroying your own temple of stone and the entire system of religious practices connected with it–; nevertheless, in three days I will raise up that sanctuary (referring to his resurrection from the dead)–and, as a result, I will establish a new temple with a new cult: the Church, with its worship of the Father in spirit and in truth.”

The type and the Antitype cannot be separated.  Israel’s physical temple (or tabernacle) was the place in which God dwelt.  Hence, it was the type of Christ’s body, which also, and in a far superior sense, was the dwelling-place of God.  If anyone destroys the second, Christ’s body, he also pulls down the first, the temple of stone at Jerusalem.  This is true for two reasons:  a. when Christ is crucified, the physical temple and its entire cult cease to have any meaning (when Jesus died, the veil was rent!); also because the terrible crime of nailing him to the cross results in the destruction of Jerusalem with its physical temple.  Similarly, the raising again of the body of Christ (cf. 10:18), so that the resurrected Lord now sends forth his Spirit, implies the establishment of the new temple which is his Church (the sanctuary made without hands, (cf. Mk 14:58).  On the Church as the sanctuary of Christ see also 1 Cor 3:16, 17; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21; and 2 Thess 2:4.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: John, 124-5)


Jesus in fact looked for the end of the Temple.  He said to the woman of Samaria that the day was coming when men would worship God neither in Mount Gerizim, nor in Jerusalem, but in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:21).  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 116)


The cleansing of the Temple, as we have seen, was a dramatic way of showing that the whole Temple worship with its ritual and its sacrifice was irrelevant and could do nothing to lead men to God.  It is clear that Jesus did expect that the Temple would pass away; that he had come to render its worship unnecessary and obsolete; and that therefore he would never suggest that he would rebuild it.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 116)


It is important to note that Phinehas was not acting as a private citizen in executing God’s judgment.  There is no support here for independent action against anyone we may believe to have offended God.  There is no warrant in this passage for bombing abortion clinics or shooting evil men.  As the son of Eleazar, Phinehas was in charge of the Levites who were responsible for guarding the sanctuary against defilement (1 Chr 9:20; Nm 3:32).  Taking action to defend the sanctity of the camp was thus part of his job description, and he fulfilled his duties faithfully as an officer of the people of God in dealing with this particular abomination.  (Iain M. Duguid, Preaching the Word: Numbers, 296-7)


Throughout his ministry we are able to see that Jesus has been subtly taking the place of the temple.  He announces forgiveness.  He heals the sick.  He brings sinners into a saving relationship with God.  He is the very presence of God in the world.  He is (dare I say?) the temple!  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 605)


The point is that the temple of the Old Covenant was a type or foreshadowing of the glory of Christ.  It was the place where the Law of Moses was preserved, of which Jesus is now the fulfillment.  It was the place of revelation and relationship, where God met and spoke to his people.  Now we hear God and see God and meet God in Jesus.  It was the place of sacrifice, where forgiveness of sins was obtained.  For that, we now go to Jesus.  Israel worshipped and celebrated in the temple in Jerusalem.  We now worship in spirit and truth, regardless of geographical locale (cf. Jn 4:20-26).  www.wordpress.com


When the temple of Jesus’ body is destroyed (i.e., he dies), at that very moment the temple in Jerusalem (the building itself that will be destroyed literally in just a few decades) is symbolically destroyed.  It has theologically gone out of business.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 606)


At the literal level, they were unlikely to call his bluff.  They were nevertheless stymied, since he was offering them a powerful “miraculous sign” to justify his authority for cleansing the temple.  Indeed, it was a marvelously appropriate sign:  anyone who could restore the temple within three days of its complete destruction must be judged to have the authority to regulate its practices.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 181)


The temple-cleansing in its own way, like the changing of the water into wine in another way, is a sign of the impending supersession of the old order by the new.  (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, 77)


The body of each of us is called a tabernacle, (2 Cor 5:4; 2 Pt 1:13), because the soul dwells in it; but the body of Christ was the abode of his Divinity.  For we know that the Son of God clothed himself with our nature in such a manner that the eternal majesty of God dwelt in the flesh which he assumed, as in his sanctuary.  (Calvin’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, 97)


IV-  Christ passionately desires for His Bride—the Church—to be One with Him and the Temple.  (Bk of Sng of Sol.; Isa 54:4-6; 62:5; Jer ch 3; Ezek ch 16; ch 23; bk of Hos; Jn 17; 1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:12-20; 12:27; 2 Cor 5:1; 6:16; Eph 2:21-22; 5:21-33; Col 1:18; 2 Th 2:4; 1 Pt 2:4-10; Rv 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17)


In John 2, the Temple courts for Jesus was like a husband and wife trying to make romantic, passionate, and intimate love while the kids are screaming for attention, the boss calling to come into work overtime, the UPS driver wanting a signature on a delivery, a telemarketer calling to beg to extend the car warranty, and the next door neighbor banging on the back door to remind you that of an agreement to have a cooperative garden this Spring.  With all these distractions, how in the world could Jesus ever be intimate with His Bride the Church? — PK


The intertwined relationship of sexuality and spirituality is emphasized throughout the Scriptures by the frequency with which God uses sexual images to admonish Israel. Rebukes for “going awhoring after other gods” occur almost twenty times in the First Testament, revealing the interconnection between making sexual intercourse an idol and giving our love promiscuously to any of a mutiplicity of other gods.  (Marva J. Dawn, Sexual Character, 58)


As he surveyed the sacred temple grounds now turned into a bazaar, Jesus was appalled and outraged.  The worshipful atmosphere that befitted the temple, as the symbol of God’s presence, was completely absent.    What should have been a place of sacred reverence and adoration had become a place of abusive commerce and excessive overpricing.  The sound of heartfelt praise and fervent prayers had been drowned out by the bawling of oxen, the bleating of sheep, he cooing of doves, and the loud haggling of vendors and their customers.  (John MacArthur; The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 90)


BRIDE (OF CHRIST): A term used in the NT to refer metaphorically to the Church, with Christ as the bridegroom (2 Cor 11:2; Rv 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17).  In the OT Israel is sometimes referred to as the wife of Jehovah (Isa 54:6; Ez 16:8; Hos 2:19, 20).  The figure is used to show how close God intends the relationship between Him and His people to be.  Disloyalty to Him is called harlotry.  (Merrill C. Tenny, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible–Volume One, 655)


To attend a marriage feast, and cleanse the temple from profanation were among the first acts of our Lord’s ministry at His first coming.  To purify the whole visible Church, and hold a marriage supper, will be amongst His first acts, when He comes again.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 104)


God created human beings in his image–“male and female he created them” (Gn 1:27)–with capacities for intense sexual pleasure and with a calling to commitment in marriage and continence in singleness.  And his goal in creating human beings with personhood and passion was to make sure that there would be sexual language and sexual images that would point to the promises and the pleasures of God’s relationship to his people and our relationship to him.  In other words, the ultimate reason (not the only one) why we are sexual is to make God more deeply knowable.  The language and imagery of sexuality are the most graphic and most powerful that the Bible uses to describe the relationship between God and his people–both positively (when we are faithful) and negatively (when we are not).  (John Piper, Justin Taylor, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, 26)


Sex is glorious.  We would know that even if we didn’t have the Bible.  Sex leads us to words of adoration–it literally evokes shouts of joy and praise.  Through the Bible, we know why this is true.  John 17 tells us that from all eternity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been adoring and glorifying each other, living in high devotion to each other, pouring love and joy into one another’s hearts continually (cf. Jn 1:18; 17;5, 21, 24-25).  Sex between a man and a woman points to the love between the Father and the Son (1 Cor 11:3).  It is a reflection of the joyous self-giving and pleasure of love within the very life of the triune God.

Sex is glorious not only because it reflects the joy of the Trinity but also because it points to the eternal delight of soul that we will have in heaven, in our loving relationships with God and one another.  Rom 7:1ff tells us that the best marriages are pointers to the deep, infinitely fulfilling, and final union we will have with Christ in love. (Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, 270-1)


Is there anything in our church life–a snobbishness, an exclusiveness, a coldness, a lack of welcome, a tendency to make the congregation into a closed club, an arrogance, a fastidiousness–which keeps the seeking stranger out?  Let us remember the wrath of Jesus against those who made it difficult and even impossible for the seeking stranger to make contact with God.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 114)


I think it is virtually impossible to read this and then honestly say that knowing God, as God intends to be known by his people in the new covenant, simply means mental awareness or understanding or acquaintance with God.  Not in a million years is that what “knowing God” means here.  This is the knowing of a lover, not a scholar.  A scholar can be a lover.  But a scholar–or a pastor–doesn’t know God until he is a lover.  You can know about God by research; but until the researcher is ravished by what he sees, he doesn’t know God for who he really is.  And that is one great reason why many pastors can become so impure.  They don’t know God–the true, massive, glorious, gracious, biblical God.  The humble intimacy and brokenhearted ecstasy–giving fire to the facts–is not there.  (John Piper, Justin Taylor, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, 32)


In the NT epistles we meet the conviction that the individual Christian (1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16) or the Church of Christ as a whole (1 Cor 3:16f.; Eph 2:19-22; 1 Pt 2:5; cf. Mt 16:18; Rv 3:12) represents the “temple of God,” because here God’s Spirit has taken up residence.  Curiously, this conviction, which represents the culmination of a great biblical theme–the dwelling of God in the midst of His people–is never itself the subject of discussion but is merely the assumed common ground on which further argumentation is based: that the one who disrupts the unity of the Church will be punished as a destroyer of God’s temple (1 Cor 3:16f., in the context of 1:10-3:23); that the “temple of the Holy Spirit” must not be used for immorality (1 Cor 6:12-20) or brought into compromising links with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14-7:1); that the temple of God is made up of Gentiles as well as Jews (Eph 2:11-22); that it is the “spiritual sacrifices” offered in the “spiritual house” made up of believers that are acceptable to God (1 Pt 2:5).  Yet if a measure of obscurity surrounds the origin of this conviction, the OT roots are nonetheless clear (cf. Ezk 11:19; 36:26f.; 37:26f.; Ps 118:22; Isa 28:16), and the identification of the Church of Christ with God’s temple is in fact not a great leap from basic Christian positions; that the OT sacrificial system (and with it the temple in which it was carried on) is done away by the perfect sacrifice of Christ; that the gift of God’s indwelling Spirit to each believer is a mark of the new age; that God is living and active in the midst of the community of His redeemed people. (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Four, 775-6)


“A certain fiery and starry light shone from his eyes, and the majesty of the Godhead gleamed in his face.”  Just because Jesus loved God, he loved God’s children, and it was impossible for him to stand passively by while the worshipers of Jerusalem were treated in this way.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 111)


For John, the manner by which Jesus will be “consumed” is doubtless his death.  If his disciples remembered these words at the time, they probably focused on the zeal, not the manner of the “consumption.”  Only later would they detect in these words a reference to his death (cf. 2:22).  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 180)


For Jews of Paul’s day, the temple in Jerusalem was a symbol of God’s favor, of his choice of Israel, and a visual reminder of God’s presence with his people.  In line with the perspective of the prophets (Jer 7, Mic 3:9-12), Jesus (Jn 4:20-24), and other NT writers (Heb 8:1-6; 1 Pt 2:4-10), Paul undermines the significance of this physical structure by claiming that the Christian community now constitutes the true dwelling place of God:  “We are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor 6:16).  As with the temple of old, the sacredness of the Christian assembly issues from the presence of the Holy One–a continual testimony of God’s amazing grace.  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Vol. 3, 228)


God tells them, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.” “Treasured possession” is the phrase a groom would call his bride.  More wedding language.  (Rob Bell; Sex God, 132)


The Christian life is about passion.  Passion for God and passion for people in need.  These are the words and ideas that when enfleshed can changed the world.  These are the things we live for.  (Ken Gire; The Reflective Life, 67)


Theologian Christopher West remarked, “If the body and sex are meant to proclaim our union with God, and if there is an enemy who wants to separate us from God, what do you think he is going to attack?  If we want to know what is most sacred in this world, all we need do is look at what is most violently profaned.” (Christopher West, Theology of the Body for Beginners, 11)


Your sexuality is an intense battle because it is the arena where God desires to demonstrate who He is and what He’s like.  Through sexual intercourse, God desires to demonstrate what communion with Him is meant to be.  It’s the taste of the intimacy we crave.  (Michael John Cusick, Surfing for God, 113)


The authenticity of our reverence is important because it indicates what we think of God.  It affects what happens in our worship, and ultimately it affects what we do in our service for God.  No wonder our Lord was indignantly passionate!  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: John, 69)


The ancient Jewish text The Holy Letter (written by Nahmanides in the thirteenth century) sees sex as a mystical experience of meeting with God:  “Through the act [of intercourse] they become partners with God in the act of creation.  This is the mystery of what the sages said, ‘When a man unites with his wife in holiness, the Shekinah is between them in the mystery of man and woman.’” The breadth of this statement is sobering when you consider that this shekinah glory is the same presence experienced by Moses when God met with him face-to-face (see Ex 24:15-18).  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 206)


It is this spiritual intercourse with God that is the ecstasy that is imagined and hinted at in all earthly intercourse; physical or spiritual.   And I think that is the ultimate reason why sexual passion is so strong and so different from other passion; so heavy with suggestions of profound meanings that always just elude our grasp.  I don’t think any practical need can account for it.  I don’t think any animal drive can explain it.  No animal falls in love or writes profound romantic poetry or sees sex as a symbol of ultimate meaning of life because no animal is made in the image of God.  Not just sexuality, but human sexuality is that image.  And human sexuality is a foretaste of that self-giving, losing and finding the whole self, a foretaste of that oneness and manyness that is the very life of the Trinity and the joy of the Trinity.   And that is why we long for without knowing it.  That is why we tremble to stand outside of ourselves in the other.  That is why we long to give our whole selves, body and soul, because we are images of God the sexual being. We love the other sex because God loves God.  And this early love is so passionate because heaven is full of passion, of energy, and dynamism.  That is one of the reasons God invented families.  You can’t love or hate anybody as much as your own family.  Families are full of passion.  Heaven is not boring or blasaise.  It is passionate because God is passionate.  Jesus Christ who is our window to God was not a stoic or a Scribe or a Scholar.  He was a lover.  I think we correctly deny that God has passions in a passive sense. He is not moved or driven or conditioned by them as we are.  He cannot fall in love for the same reason the ocean cannot get wet.  He is love.  (Peter Kreeft lecture Sex in Heaven”)


God created us with sexual passion so that there would be language to describe what it means to cleave to him in love and what it means to turn away from him to others.  (John Piper, Justin Taylor, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, 28)


Sex is sacramental because it is suggestive, reminding us not only of the mutual commitment of this couple but of our link with our Creator.  Our passionate unions resonate with that covenant of affection and fidelity that God has made with humankind.  This ability of our sexual lives to hint at God’s presence among us makes sexuality mysterious and holy.

In its fierce privacy and its unavoidable socialness, sexual life symbolizes the life of faith.  The covenant between us and God, resonating in the deepest recesses of our heart, affects all our public behavior.  The Church has long cherished the image of marriage as a compelling metaphor of its own commitment and fidelity with God.  Sex is mysterious because it is sacramental:  it can remind us of God’s passionate affection for us.  For this reason, too, sex is very good.  (Evelyn & James Whitehead, A Sense of Sexuality, 31)


Ezekiel’s vision is called “the image of jealousy” because it provoked Yahweh to jealousy.  Frequently the metaphor of a marriage was used to describe the relationship between Yahweh and His people, with Yahweh depicted as the jealous husband and Israel as the adulterous wife (cf. Ez 36:41f.).  There is another side, however, to Yahweh’s qinhâ, namely, His jealousy for His covenant people, which is expressed in pity and zeal for Israel’s renewal and results in judgment upon Israel’s enemies and the restoration of Jerusalem (e.g., Ez 36:5-7; 38:18f.; 39:25; Joel 2:18f.; Zec 1:14-17; 8:2f.).  (3) Yahweh’s claim to the exclusive allegiance of His people arises out of His unique nature as the only true God, the sovereign Lord of all creation.  No other gods can rival Him; thus Yahweh alone is deserving of His creatures’ exclusive and wholehearted devotion (cf. Ps 95-97, etc.; Dt 6:4f.).  Yahweh’s jealousy is an expression of His holiness (cf. Josh 24:19; Ezk 39:25).  His very name is Jealous (Ex 34:14).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia–Volume One, 972)


The most frequent reference in the NT to the Church as the bride of Christ occurs in Revelation.  John applies the image not to the redeemed community directly, but rather to the heavenly Jerusalem which descends from heaven to a transformed earth.  The heavenly Jerusalem is itself a symbol for the Church (Aune, 146-8).  The appropriateness of the bridal imagery in the context of the eschatological consummation lies in the fact that Judaism compared the messianic age to a marriage of God and Israel (SB, I, 500ff.), as well as to a wedding feast.  The fine clothing of the bride symbolizes the righteous deeds of the saints (Rv 19:8), and the comparison of the heavenly Jerusalem with a bride adorned for her husband (alluding to Isa 61:10) emphasizes the readiness and anxious anticipation of the Church for Christ (Rv 21:2; 22:17).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia–Volume One, 547)


The OT pictures Yahweh as the husband of Israel.  For example, Israel and Judah are depicted as faithless sisters who play the harlot, being unfaithful to their beloved (see esp. Jer 3:1-3 and Ez 23).  The deep religious significance of such a figure is apparent when we see the close connection between idolatry and religious prostitution.  To demonstrate the faithlessness of Israel, Yahweh commanded the prophet Hosea to take a wife who had been a harlot.  Unable to break the habit of her former life, she became a living representation of Israel’s faithlessness to Yahweh.  Hosea filled the role of God, who was always willing to forgive.  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia–Volume Two, 617)


It ought to be observed, that our bodies also are called temples of God (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16), but it is in a different sense, namely, because God dwells in us by the power and grace of his Spirit; but in Christ the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, so that he is truly God manifested in flesh (1 Tm 3:16).  (Calvin’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, 98)


It is a lifelong task till the top-stone be brought forth.  Only let us remember this:  Christ, who is Architect and Builder, Foundation and Top-stone; ay! and Deity indwelling in the temple, and building it by His indwelling–this Christ is not one of those who “begin to build and are not able to finish.”  He realizes all His plans.  There are no ruined edifices in “the City”; nor any half-finished fanes of worship within the walls of that great Jerusalem whose builder and maker is Christ.  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: John, 148)


Sexuality is designed by God as a way to know God in Christ more fully; and that knowing God in Christ more fully is designed as a way of guarding and guiding our sexuality.  Or to put it negatively:  all misuses of our sexuality distort the true knowledge of Christ; and all misuses of our sexuality derive from not having the true knowledge of Christ.  (John Piper, Justin Taylor, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, 16)


If Paul tells us that a man is not to join himself to a prostitute because his body is a holy temple–that is, if we are to use such imagery to avoid sinning–can a Christian not use the same imagery to be drawn into God’s presence in a unique way as he joins his body with his wife?  Isn’t he somehow entering God’s temple–knocking on the door of shekinah glory–when he joins himself to a fellow believer?  And isn’t this a tacit encouragement to perhaps even think about God as your body is joined with your spouse?  (Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, 209-10)


Church is not a place where programs happen.  It is not a place to go and be noticed by others.  It is not a place to meet people.  It is not even a place where we “listen to sermons.”  It is where heaven and earth meet.  To be sure, one implication of our being tabernacles of the Spirit is that each of us is a concrete reminder that God has come to earth.  But God has chosen to do this not only individually but corporately.  Christians come together to experience communally the reality that God dwells with us.  (Peter Enns, The NIV Application Commentary: Exodus, 559)


The theme that God dwells with His people was fulfilled with the coming of Jesus Christ.  In fact, the tabernacle foreshadowed the fact that Christ would become incarnate and dwell among us.  “The Word became flesh and lived for a while [tabernacled] among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14).  Christ’s glory superseded the bright cloud of glory.  Now Christ sends His Holy Spirit like a cloud of fire to make His church and His people into a tabernacle of God (Acts 2:2-4; 1 Cor 3:10-17; 6:19).  (Vern Poythress, Ph.D., The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses, 12)


It is not without significance that it was on the eve of the passion that Jesus foretold the destruction of the temple together with the other fine buildings of Jerusalem (see Mk 13:2).  Indeed it would be true to say that, because the temple had to be destroyed as an act of judgment upon the unspiritual nature of the worship that had come to be offered in it, Jesus had to die.  But that death was no mere passive submission to the unruly wills of sinful men; it was a voluntary surrender of life wholly acceptable to the Father, and destined to be followed within three days by the resurrection.  And as a result of the resurrection a new spiritual temple could emerge–the fellowship of believers, a shrine of the indwelling Spirit (see 1 Cor 3:17).  (R.V. G. Tasker, Tyndale NT Commentaries: John, 64)


Worship Point:  Worship the God of the Universe Who is passionate about having a relationship with you (Jn 3:16; 13:1; Rom 5-8:39; Eph 2:4-5; 3:18-19; 5:2, 25; 1 Jn 3:1-4:21).  He wants an intimate relationship with you so you will become one with Him as Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father are ONE.  (Jn 17:11, 21-22; Eph 5:21-33)


The condition of the temple was a vivid indication of the spiritual condition of the nation. Their religion was a dull routine, presided over by worldly minded men whose main desire was to exercise authority and get rich.  Not only had the wine run out at the wedding feast but the glory had departed from the temple.  (Warren W. Wiersby, Be Alive, 42)


It is a mark of spiritual barrenness in the church when people come to worship to fulfill a duty or keep a habit rather than satisfy an appetite.  (Eric Alexander, Truth for Life tape 65562)


God is jealous.   God doesn’t want to lose to another what He possesses.  He knows He is the best for us and so He is jealous when we give our time, resources, money, or our affections to anything else than Him.  Why is God jealous?  Because He loves you so much He wants you to have the best.  And the best is God. — PK


God receives our worship based upon Jesus’ having already offered to him the perfect sacrifice–himself–on our behalf.  And all our subsequent worship of the Lord is received, not because we are now so sincere, but because the blood of the high priest Jesus has made it acceptable to God.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Give Praise to God A Vision for Reforming Worship, 310)


Jesus was zealous for the reverence due to God the Father, and he knew that the irreverent marketplace within the very courts of God’s temple would not be expelled without the use of force.  Any view of God that subtly makes him incapable of anger reduces him to a status equal with pagan gods.  The God who is love, who chooses whether or not to be angry, is quite different from a god who is incapable of being angry.  One is worthy of our respectful fear; the other is an impotent idol.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 43)


Our worship should, in the literal meaning of the word, be characterized by enthusiasm–which signifies not simply human exuberance but the divine indwelling (en-theos).

Lifeless, meaningless worship will inevitably put off the newcomer who is not yet a believer.  But in the heartfelt worship of a people surrendered to him, God is pleased to dwell in the praises of his people.  (Eddie Gibbs; Church Next, 182-3)


My old effort to achieve worship with no self-interest in it proved to be a contradiction in terms.  Worship is basically adoration, and we adore only what delights us.  There is no such thing as sad adoration or unhappy praise.

We have a name for those who try to praise when they have no pleasure in the object.  We call them hypocrites.  (John Piper; Desiring God, 19)


Gospel Application: Without Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we are not even worthy to enter the temple, let alone become God’s temple (Isa 64:6; Jn 2:23-25; Rom 3:9-20; Heb 9:6-10:22).  When we by faith come to Jesus, we are legally and spiritually transformed into new creatures who not only can bring acceptable worship to God, but can actually become the Bride of Christ (Jn 3:3-7, 29; 2 Cor 5:17; 1 Pt 1:23; Rev 19:7; 21:2-17) and the Temple of God by being “in Christ” (1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:12-20; 2 Cor 5:1; 6:16; Eph 2:21-22; 5:21-33; 1 Pt 2:4-10).


The Bible says that as the head of his bride, the church, Christ serves as her Savior (Eph 5:23), Jesus gave himself out of love to make the church holy, radiant, and blameless (5:25-27).  Christ’s example shows that headship involves taking responsibility–even to the point of personal sacrifice–for the well-being of another.  (Bryan Chapell, Each for the Other, 26)


The curtain that divided the Holy of Holies from the rest of the world, from the Court of the Priests, from the Court of Israel, from the Court of the Women, from the Court of the Gentiles, was torn asunder.  The point is that through Christ’s sacrificial death the earthly temple completely crumbles to the ground and is replaced by the one who said of himself, “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here” (12:6).  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 606)


That new Israel, according to the NT, is Jesus Christ, the one who came and lived the only life that has ever truly been free from spiritual adultery.  His zeal for the Lord’s house certainly sometimes made him an uncomfortable companion.  In Jn 2 he made a whip of cords in order to drive out those who had turned the temple into a marketplace (v. 17).  His disciples immediately thought of Ps 69:9: “Zeal for your house has consumed me.”  Yet it was that same zeal for God’s glory that would ultimately take him all the way to the cross in the ultimate judgment on sin.  There, instead of piercing the guilty sinners and putting them to a deserved death, God pierced his own innocent Son in our place.  Through his death, Jesus made atonement for all of his people.  By pouring out his anger on his own Son, God turned his anger away from us, enabling us to live under his blessing.  Our sin was put to death in Jesus, and his zeal for God’s glory was credited to us, making us acceptable in God’s sight.  (Iain M. Duguid, Preaching the Word: Numbers, 298-9)


Though they believed in Jesus, Jesus did not believe in them; He had no faith in their faith.  Jesus “regarded all belief in Him as superficial which does not have as its most essential elements the consciousness of the need for forgiveness and the conviction that He alone is the Mediator of that forgiveness” (R.V.G. Tasker).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 95)


My brother, only the heart is hard that does not know it is hard.  Only he is hardened who does not know he is hardened.  When we are concerned for our coldness, it is because of the yearning God has put there.  God has not rejected us.  —Bernard of Clairvaux  (A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship?, 90)


Instead of mourning over the sins we cannot master, the pride, self-will, lack of love, or disobedience, let us come to the root of the matter and confess our terrible sin of unbelief.  Let our faith grow in the greatness of God’s power revealed in Christ.  (Andrew Murray, Receiving Power from God, 94)


Jesus did not need to be told about human nature; he knew the motives behind people’s actions because he thoroughly knew the human makeup.  He knew how fickle people were (and are).  Jesus was well aware of the truth of Jer 17:9:  “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?” (See also 1 Sm 16:7; Ps 139; Acts 1:24).  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 48)


There is scarcely any man who is not pleased with himself; and while we deceive ourselves by empty flatteries, we imagine that God is blind like ourselves.  But here we are reminded how widely his judgment differs from ours; for he sees clearly those things which we cannot perceive, because they are concealed by some disguise; and he estimates according to their hidden source, that is, according to the most secret feeling of the heart, those things which dazzle our eyes by false luster.  This is what Solomon says, that God weighs in his balance the hearts of men, while they flatter themselves in their ways (Prv 21:2).  (Calvin’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, 102)


Spiritual Challenge: BEWARE: Satan and our sinful nature will create obstacles, distractions and idols to keep you from Jesus (Mt 13:4-23; Mk 4:4-20; Lk 8:5-15).  Also, signs and wonders will not create saving faith (Mt 12:38-39; 16:1-4; 24:3, 24; Mk 8:11-12; 13:22; Lk 11:16-30; Jn 2:23-25; 4:48; 12:37; 1 Cor 1:22; 2 Th 2:9; Rev 13:13-14; 16:14; 19:20).  Only God can (Rom 10:17; Eph 2:8-10)BEWARE:  the object of your faith.  Does it rest in Jesus or only on what He does for you that you like?


If you are in a marriage relationship for what you can get out of it, it will never last.   The best marriages with the best sex and the greatest security are in it for the welfare and happiness of the marriage partner.  Those greatest lovers are in that relationship with the beloved to see them enjoy the greatest joy possible.   The same should be true with Jesus and you. — PK


He knew that there were many who were attracted only by the sensational things he did.  He knew that there were none who understood the way that he had chosen.   He knew that there were many who would have followed him while he continued to produce miracles and wonders and signs, but who, if he had begun to talk to them about service and self-denial, if he had begun to talk to them about self-surrender to the will of God, if he had begun to talk to them about a cross and about carrying a cross, would have stared at him with blank incomprehension and left him on the spot.  (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 118)


We have such smooth, almost secularized ways of talking people into the kingdom of God that we can no longer find men and women willing to seek God through the crisis of encounter.  When we bring them into our churches, they have no idea of what it means to love and worship God because, in the route through which we have brought them, there has been no personal encounter, no personal crisis, no need of repentance–only a Bible verse with a promise of forgiveness.  (A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship?, 118)


To believe on the basis of the signs is to take as basic something we can see and to which we give weight on the basis of our experience.  Jesus calls people to trust him for what he is, not because he passes the tests we set.  Those who had been attracted by the miracles would have been ready to try to make an earthly king of him (cf. 6:15).  But he did not trust himself to them.  He looked for genuine conversion, not enthusiasm for the spectacular.  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 182)


If he had entrusted himself to the mob in Jerusalem, they would have declared him Messiah there and then and would have waited for the kind of material action they expected the Messiah to take.   But Jesus was a leader who refused to ask men ever to accept him until they understood what accepting meant.  He insisted that a man should know what he was doing.  (William Barclay; Daily Study Bible Series: John, 118)


Given their way, these “believers” would have seized Him and paraded Him as their king.  But Jesus spurns such faith.  The world is full of those who say, “Seeing is believing.”  Jesus wants those who find that “believing is seeing.”  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 45)


Just as He read Peter and Nathanael, so did He behold the faith of those wanting a Miracle Man in their midst.  But this kind of faith comes to GET, not GIVE their lives to Him.  Even Jesus’ miracles require faith to see and understand what they really mean.  There are those today, pleased to identify with the glory of Christ as a Miracle Worker, but unwilling to suffer the indignity of becoming HIS bondslave.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 46)


When we speak generally about faith, let us know that there is a kind of faith which is perceived by the understanding only, and afterwards quickly disappears, because it is not fixed in the heart; and that is the faith which James calls dead; but true faith always depends on the Spirit of regeneration (Jam 2:17, 20, 26).  (Calvin’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, 101)


There is a life-and-death difference between believing in His name “when they saw the signs which He did” and believing in Him because of who He is.  Seeing signs arouses excitement all right, but it also creates a belief that is sometimes superficial.  The dramatic cleansing of the temple is no small matter, nor are the signs which followed as Jesus moved about Jerusalem during the seven feast days after the Passover.  Here is a wonder-working Messiah who seems to fit their shallow expectations.  How prone we all are to put our trust in whatever will get us what we want.  (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 76)


The hardhearted people of Jesus’ day continually required Jesus to give them some spectacular sign to prove his authority and demonstrate that he was the Messiah.  The Jews were so notorious for being sign seekers that Paul could say, “Jews demand miraculous signs” (1 Cor 1:22).  In his parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31), Jesus made the point that those unwilling to believe will not be convinced by signs.  His application was both pointed and prophetic:  “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Lk 16:31).  Jesus would not give his generation the kind of sign they demanded; he himself was the sign, for he was the Son of God come from heaven to earth.  This would be known to all after his resurrection.  This would be the ultimate sign he would give Israel and all mankind.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 45)


It seems that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased. (C.S. Lewis; The Weight of Glory)


The request for a sign was not only stupid, however; it was also wicked.  It was the result of unwillingness to admit guilt.  The authorities should have been ashamed of all this graft and greed within the temple-court.  Instead of asking Jesus by what right he had cleansed the temple, they should have confessed their sins and thanked him.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: John, 124)


A sign that would satisfy them, presumably some sort of miraculous display performed on demand, would have signaled the domestication of God.  That sort of “god” does powerful stunts to maintain allegiance, and that kind of allegiance is not worth having.  Indeed, if the authorities had eyes to see, the cleansing of the temple was already a “sign” they should have thought through and deciphered in terms of OT Scripture.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 181)


Spiritual Challenge Questions:

  1. Understanding the function the Temple served in Jewish worship; how does this understanding enhance Who Jesus is and who we can be “In Christ”?


  1. Again, Jesus eludes to His death when responding to those wanting a sign. What all does Jesus’ death point to in relation to the Temp and being one with God? 


  1. When compared to the church fathers, the medieval contemplatives and to modern Christians in persecuted regions; our 21st century American worship is (for the most part) shallow, guarded and empty. Why do you think this is so? 


So What?: Without Jesus, we will be thrown out of the temple (Lv 10:1-4; 2 Sm 6; 1 Chr 13; Jer 17:9-10; Rom 3:9-21).  When we are born again, by trusting “in Christ”, we become a new creation, a holy people (Ex 22:31; Dt 28:9; Isa 62:12; Eph 5:3; 2 Th 1:10; 1 Pt 2:9) and as the Bride of Christ, God’s temple.


The zeal of Jesus is still for His temple . . . for you!


Man in the flesh is condemned.  Only a new creation avails before God.  Man must be “born again.”  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 100)


Any desire of the heart for Christ, any secret brokenness, any godly sorrow over indwelling sin, any feeble going out of self and leaning on Jesus, is the gracious work of the Holy Ghost in the soul, and must not be undervalued or unacknowledged.  A truly humble view of self, is one of the most precious fruits of the Spirit: it indicates more real fruitfulness, perhaps, than any other state of mind.  That ear of corn which is the most full of grain, hangs the lowest; that bough which is the most heavily laden with fruit, bends the nearest to the ground.  It is no unequivocal mark of great spiritual fruitfulness in a believer, when tenderness of conscience, contrition of spirit, low thoughts of self, and high thoughts of Jesus, mark the state of his soul.  “Who hath despised the day of small things?”–not Jesus.  (Octavius Winslow, Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul, 163)


The principle is this:  true repentance is a change of mind, of heart, of disposition:  it is the making of a new heart and of a right spirit.  It originates in regeneration; in our being born again; in our obtaining a new nature and becoming new creatures in Christ by the Spirit.  And it flows forth, in unmistakable manifestations, in a new course of conduct; in a reformed life; a life aiming at new ends, conducted under a new rule, and aspiring to attain to a new standard.  Repentance, sprung from a true fear of God and a true sight of sin, manifests itself in a dutiful obedience to God’s law and a jealous abstinence from sin.  True and saving repentance is not a mere shaking off the evil fruit from the tree, and trying on fruit of a better appearance.  It is the changing of the tree’s very nature; and good fruit is then naturally brought forth, and not artificially appended.  The penitent exclaims, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  Thus much for the healing of the tree.  He obeys the command, “Cease to do evil, learn to do well.” Thus much for the new, good fruit.  “Make the tree good, and the fruit good” (Mt 12:33)”  (Hugh Martin; Jonah, 271-2)


Again I realize it in this way, I realize that the Holy Spirit is dwelling within me.  That is Paul’s argument in the sixth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians:  ‘Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?’  That is the way to overcome the sins of the flesh.  Constantly I find myself having to ask people this question–they come to me about some problem or difficulty and they say:  ‘I have been praying about this’, and I say:  ‘My friend, do you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?’  That is the answer.  I say it again at the risk of being misunderstood, but such friends in a way need to pray less and to think more.  They must remind themselves that their bodies are ‘the temples of the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us’.  Prayer is always essential, but thought is essential, too, because prayer can be just an escape mechanism, almost at times a cry in the dark by people who are desperate and defeated.  Prayer must be intelligent, and it is only to those who realize that their bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost that the answer will be given and the power will come.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones; Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, 173)


The fact is, I need God to help me love God.  And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other, fault-filled humans.  Something mysterious, even supernatural must happen in order for genuine love for God to grow in our hearts.  The Holy Spirit has to move in our lives.  (Francis Chan, Crazy Love, 104)





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