There is a side of Jesus that a lot of people have trouble relating to. The world is okay with a wimpy Jesus who just loves everyone and leaves them as they are. The thought that he is our Creator, that he can come into the world and judge what people are doing, and that he is the only way anyone can know the only true God, is quite repulsive to a prideful world that imagines itself the master of its own destiny.
Our next study in John’s gospel shows us how Jesus confronted something so horrible in the world because it was a direct attack on his Father. The Temple that was to be the dwelling place of God among his people had been turned into a marketplace for the religious elite. When Jesus arrived, it was time to cleanup the mess.
Jesus’ response to the evil things going on in the Temple not only shows how he felt about what the people were doing, but also reveals him as having the authority to judge those activities. At the same time, Jesus’ expression of God’s judgment on that day gives a glimpse into his right to judge us all in the end. It also presents an idea of what it will look like for Jesus to carry out his greater purpose of cleansing hearts now the way he cleansed the Temple then.
John Bible Study ~ John 2:13-25 ~ Jesus Cleanses Hearts for his Father
The first thing John told us in his gospel account was that Jesus was the Word who was with his Father in the very beginning. Jesus was not only with God, but he was God. We cannot fathom what it was like for the eternal Father and Son to set in motion the plan of salvation that would involve the Word leaving heaven and becoming human flesh. However, their relationship was quite alive and well on planet earth the whole time Jesus was here. John also said that Jesus came to make the Father known to us. This passage focuses on the first time Jesus identifies himself to Israel as the Son of God and how he expresses his relationship to his Father.
Part 1: Jesus Defends His Father’s House
As the plan of God unfolds, we now see the theme of Jesus’ relationship with his Father expressing itself in the way he handled his Father’s earthly House. It not only shows us what Jesus’ relationship with his Father was like, but gives us an introduction to what our relationship to God as Father might be like.
1. In the previous scene we saw Jesus relating to a need at a wedding. Now we see him relating to a national commemoration for Israel where he addresses a far greater need than running out of wine. What do Jesus’ actions in relation to the things he found in the Temple tell you about his view of what was going on there?
2. What was Jesus’ showing the people about himself in his declaration, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade”?
3. What does it tell you about Jesus that his disciples considered his actions a fulfillment of prophecy?
4. We know that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth,” and, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known”. What is Jesus making known to you about the Father that fits his announcement, “Take these things away,” because they do not match what it looks like to be in Father’s House?
Part 2: A Sign That Leads to Faith
One element of getting to know Jesus is discovering that what he means by something he says is likely to be different from what we initially imagine. The encouragement is that, when our first thoughts about what he means don’t seem to make sense, his words are still like a signpost pointing us to things that will definitely build up our faith when we get there. This section shows us that journey in one short paragraph.
1. Why do you think the religious elite demanded a sign from Jesus after his surprising actions in the temple?
2. What does the contrast between what Jesus meant by his reference to “this temple” and what the Jews understood encourage us to do when we read God’s word, the Bible?
3. What place does Jesus’ resurrection hold in helping us as we read this section of God’s word today (vs 22)?
4. How does this part of God’s word offer you the same opportunity to believe the Scripture and the word that Jesus has spoken?
Part 3: A One-way Faith
There are many things in God’s word that indicate that something works in one direction but not another. For example, we worship God our Creator and Redeemer, but would never expect him to worship us. We absolutely need Jesus to give us life, but he does not need anything from us for him to be fully alive. Faith is another thing that is absolutely essential from our side of relationship with Christ but not from his. This concluding focus of this passage shows how the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ attaches us to a Savior who is not the least bit influenced by the faithlessness of people. And, if you think about it, this is a very good thing.
1. One of the patterns in Jesus’ life and ministry was to show the way he was treated by the religious elite in contrast to the response of the general population. After seeing the way the leaders challenged Jesus about what he did in the Temple, what are we told was the general response to him from the rest of the people?
2. What does it mean that Jesus “knew all people” and “knew what was in man”?
3. How did Jesus relate to people based on what he knew about them/us?
4. How does it encourage your faith in Jesus that his trustworthiness is unaffected by how untrustworthy we are?
Conclusion: Hearing, Seeing, Joining
After seeing the way Jesus took authority over the sinful things that were going on in his Father’s House:
1. What do you hear God speaking to you about?
2. What do you see God doing in you through this part of his word?
3. How are you going to join God in his work?
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
 A .doc version to use for prayer-journaling can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/p2yy671pud74f6l/0010%20-%20John%202_13-25%20-%20Jesus%20Cleanses%20the%20Temple.docx?dl=0
A .pdf version to print out can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9j46iawsnddf302/0010%20-%20John%202_13-25%20-%20Jesus%20Cleanses%20the%20Temple.pdf?dl=0