The Lord and His disciples went to a wedding in Cana. The host family did not plan the wedding celebration well. They did not have enough wine to serve their guests for the entire time. Something needed to be done, so Mary turned to her son. It is likely she saw the present crisis as a present opportunity for Jesus to burst on the political scene.
John 2:4-5 says, “And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Jesus’ response to His mother clarifies a lot of misconceptions:
- Jesus’ glory would require His death. His glory would not come at some amazing feat of power. However, it would take Him to the cross on our behalf.
- God the Father would glorify Jesus. His Father would give Him glory, not the people at the wedding.
- This would all be on the Father’s timetable. No one could speed things up or slow things down. Not even Mary.
“Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So, they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
The fact that Jesus did act and that it was supernatural tells us that He did not object to His mom’s request. Having addressed her misguided motivation, He was delighted to help the host family.
Jesus chose to solve this family’s problem. He left no room for trickery, Jesus stood back while the servers handled the jars, got the water, and drew out the wine. A miraculous transformation took place.
“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.”
John wraps up this story and transitions to the next scene. He calls it “the first of many signs.” Jesus is showing us who He is. John details these miracles to attest to Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.
“The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the moneychangers sitting there.”
Passover goes back to the time of Egypt when Moses was given instructions to prepare a lamb a certain way and to honor the Lord’s presence by spreading its blood on the doorposts over every Hebrews home. When the death angel moved through Egypt to take the life of the firstborn male in each household, he passed over every home bearing the blood of the sacrificial lamb.
By the first century the festival was different. It hardly resembled the solemn event of Israel’s exodus. The priesthood as so corrupt and the temple so polluted by the priest’s greed. The courts of the complex had become a mixture of a flea market and stock market.
At Passover all Jewish males were expected to visit the temple, to pay the tax required by law and to sacrifice an animal. The sacrifice was to be a lamb, and as always, it had to be without blemish or defect. The tax had to be paid in shekels, not foreign currency, that had images forbidden by law.
The priests took advantage of this and set up stations in the temple for the purpose of exchanging money for shekel at crazy rates. Then, they also supplied sacrificial animals, and charged top price. Jesus had come to the temple each year to celebrate festivals, observe sacrifice, and glorify God. He did not find a place of worship, but a sham.
“And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
The time had come to enter the temple not as a worshipper but as Messiah, the ruler of the place. His first act was to purge the temple. Jesus tossed furniture like toothpicks, and slung coins like seeds. Jesus is drove sin out of the temple. What sin does He need to drive out of your life? As you pursue Him, you will find the chains fall off and wholeness come.
“So, the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
The religious leaders knew scripture too. They said, if you declare yourself the Messiah, show us miracles. Jesus does not waste His words on people who did not want to hear. The words of Jesus were always right, chosen to divide His audience into two groups: Hard hearts and receptive hearts.
Three Lessons We Learn from the Cleansing of the Temple
- God owns the temple, not the priests.
- God’s Word is the only authority recognized in the temple, not the high priest.
- God’s Son came to claim ownership of the temple.
The temple was a sacred place for the Lord to meet His people. Once Jesus completed His work on the cross that place of meeting changed, but the standard is the same, holiness. If you are in Christ, then you are now His temple.
What do you think the Lord wants to drive out of your temple? While the Lord wants the temple of your body clean, the task is not yours to complete. Your role is to submit to His cleansing process.
Pastor Chris Williams
To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at fcfamily.org and make sure you subscribe to receive these weekly encouragements in your inbox.