Today’s Reading: John 2
Today our 260 Journey takes us to John 2. If we are not paying attention, we may feel as if we are at the end of the Gospel of John and not at the beginning. Let me explain why this can be confusing by reading something Jesus did in this chapter:
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” (John 2:13-16)
Anything seem odd to you?
What Jesus did here is in all three Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. But here is what makes this scene stand out: it isn’t the same thing.
Think about this, Jesus cleared the temple of the money changers and those buying and selling. He made a scourge and then declared, “My Father’s house shall be called a house of prayer.” This happens in Matthew 21, Mark 11, and Luke 19—all on Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, which we call Palm Sunday.
But this is totally different. This is not Palm Sunday. This is the beginning of His ministry. This is John 2, not John 19.
Wow! This is huge. This is Jesus clearing the temple at the beginning of His ministry where the other gospels record Jesus clearing the temple at the end of His ministry.
What He cleaned out, three years later came back in.
Why? Junk is always trying to make its way back into the temple. That’s not just true for this New Testament temple but for another temple. In this same chapter, in verse 19, Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”—and then it goes on to say, “He was speaking of the temple of His body” (verse 21).
In other words: I am now the temple that sin and money changers are looking to get back into.
This is so true. Stuff that was driven out of my life years ago is always trying to find its way back in years later; just like those money changers were.
In I Surrender, Patrick Morley wrote that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception “that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior. . . . It is revival without reformation, without repentance.
Jesus would not let something into the temple that did not belong. I need God to come into my life each day and make a clean sweep of my personal temple, because junk always wants to come back. The same is true of you. As C. S. Lewis reminds us, “We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin.”
How do we keep sin out? The Holy Spirit’s conviction is the scourge to make us aware, and repentance drives the money changers out. Conviction and repentance get the money changers out of our temples that are trying to get back in like old times.
Repentance is best defined by a little girl who said, “It’s to be sorry enough to quit.”
The great American evangelist, Billy Sunday, spoke about the fight against sin being a fight he would wage until he died: “Listen, I’m against sin. I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist, I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head, and I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. And when I’m old, fistless, footless, and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to glory and it goes home to perdition.”
Fight sin. Let Jesus clean house. Each day you wake up, ask Jesus to go through the temple and expose anything in your life that should not be there.