February 27, 2011

Jesus Clears the Temple

John 2:12-25

“12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” 20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.”

It's difficult to know where to begin since volumes could be written about this pocket of verses. We see terrible corruption in the temple (vs 14), a striking example of Christ's consuming zeal for the Lord's house (vs 17), the prophesy of His own death, burial, and resurrection (vs19), greater faith of the disciples as they witnessed the unfolding of this prophecy years later (vs 22), and Christ's deliberate act of entrusting Himself to God and never man (vs 23-25).

As one who strives to please others and keep the peace (except in the cases of injustice or abuse) verses 23-25 provide nourishment for my weary soul. To explain, let me say that as a general rule I get along with most everyone. I don't fight, debate, or push buttons, but rather seek middle ground and choose my battles very carefully. Lately, however, God has allowed (and I emphasize allowed because there is a lesson for me in this whole ordeal) a couple of acquaintances into my life that quite frankly don't like me one iota. One expresses dislike by completely ignoring me, while the other is extremely rude. Since both behaviors go against my nature with regards to how I'm used to being treated and choose to treat others, this experience has been a rather unpleasant and uncomfortable eye opener into humanity. Further fogging the issue, these are church going folk with whom I've never had an argument or disagreement. (I'll never understand.)

In cases where we feel unjustly treated and helpless to change the situation, I'm learning it's best to take the reigns in order to not feel the victim. That's why I cling to the final verses of John chapter two. Like a beacon in a nasty ill-mannered storm, they bind me safely to the truth of God. Notice how scripture points out whom Jesus did not entrust Himself to, it wasn't the Jews demanding miraculous signs in verse 18, that was a no brainer. It was those who believed in the miracles He performed (vs 23). Now, as a people pleaser this catches my eye because of all people, I'd have trusted the ones who believed. After all, wasn't their belief a good thing? They certainly weren't like the hard-headed Jews at the temple cheating the people out of their money. Why in the world, of all groups, did Jesus not trust the ones who believed after seeing His miraculous signs.

The answer is simple. He knew the hearts of the people. Dependent on what they saw rather than true conviction, Jesus knew their faith was weak and untrustworthy. Verse 25 reveals, "He knew what was in each person", which is to say He knew who was wicked and couldn't be trusted as well as those with good intensions but weak and unreliable. He entrusted Himself to no one but the Father, a wonderful lesson to those of us wishing to please the masses. We cannot please everyone nor should we try because when we do it takes our eyes of God and sets us up for failure, especially when it's supposed believers throwing the darts.

I'm still in the process of muddling through these baffling relationships as I try to release that which I don't understand. Truth is, times haven't change and people today are just as weird and unexplainable as they were in Jesus' time. Those who offend have histories and hurts that drive their behavior, most of which we'll never be privy to. There are some things we simply cannot change or resolve, which at the end of the day is God's job anyway. Our responsibility, especially mine for the time, is to focus on doing the right thing in order to please God. It may not make us popular but it will yield heavenly blessings of far greater value.


Are you a people pleaser? If so, are there areas of your life in which you compromise in order to appease?

Do you put your trust in certain individuals more than you do God? If so, what does this say about your heart?

What other insights do these verses reveal to your heart?


Cheryl Barker said...

Nancy, sorry for the unpleasantness those acquaintances are causing. You're certainly on the right track, though, focusing on doing the right thing in God's sight. As you do that, maybe their hearts will change...

(By the way, in para #3 after the scripture, did you mean to say "It was not those who believed in the miracles He performed" rather than "It was those who believed..."? I got a little confused there. Am thinking you may have left out a word, but I could be wrong & just be confused! :))

katiegfromtennessee said...

Hey Nancy,

I tend to be a people pleaser, and I think I am prone to compromise way to much, I need more courage with all humility. I think that my heart trusts God the most. I think that only the Lord can make us healthy enough to have relationships of any kind that are true fellowship and that last (ie Paul and Timothy or a marriage relationship)

Blessings to you today Nancy,


About Nancy said...

Cheryl...I wonder if paragraph #3 is like one of those pictures you have to stare at for a while before seeing it clearly. Sorry it's confusing but I do mean what I say (at least I think I do).

In a nutshell I was simply noticing verses 23-25 which place Jesus in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival where many saw His signs and believed in Him, yet on the heels of that verse it states, "But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people." It just strikes me He did not entrust Himself even to those who believed and kept strict focus on His Father.

So sorry if this is confusing and I sure hope I'm not the one staring at the picture and not seeing it clearly. For that matter I hope I understood your question!

Have a good one and thanks for the input sweet sister.

Happy Little Trees Studio said...

Hang in there girl! I like for everyone to "like" me. So, I can relate. I know that I tend to rely on myself more than our Lord sometimes. I do trust God, but I'm always taking matters into my own hands! LOL! I'm such a work in progress!!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Nancy... I read and reflected on this very scripture this morning! Like you, I focused on who Christ was able to "entrust" his truth with. Apparently, not many.

I want to be a woman who can be entrusted with God's kingdom business. I haven't always succeeded in this area, and others have let me down along these lines. But at the end of the day (really all throughout the day), my desire is to please God, not man. If the two happen to coincide, then all the more!

Praying you find your way through this tricky, painful situation. Church can sometimes be the hardest place in which to "live" relationship with others.