Devotions on John 2:13-25–Jesus Cleanses the Temple
January 15-21, 2018
Monday, January 15, 2018–Jesus Cleanses the Temple
“The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem” (John 2:13).
Sylvia sat across the table from Juanita, sipping her coffee. “I don’t know how you do it,” she said. “You have three rambunctious kids and your super involved in their lives. Yet, you seem so calm and collected.”
Juanita giggled and smiled. “Part of that is the duck phenomena. I appear calm above the water, but I’m paddling furiously below the water,” she replied. “What I really think makes a difference, though, is getting up a half hour before the rest of the family and having that time for me and the Lord—reading a devotional, praying and meditating.”
Even though Jesus had a “special connection” with God, the Father, he was still an observant Jew. Jesus participated in the religious celebrations, he attended synagogue and prayed. Spiritual disciplines were a part of Jesus’ life and as followers of Jesus they are precious gifts that we are invited to use.
Lord, help us to be intentional in nurturing our relationship with you so that we may be better equipped to serve you. Amen.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018–Jesus Cleanses the Temple
“In the temple he found people selling cattle” (John 2:14).
Animals and money changers were a part of temple life. They provided necessary services for the pilgrims. Sacrifices needed to be without blemish and only shekels could be used for the various taxes and offerings. The problem was that the services became predatory, taking advantage of the people and hindering the worship of God. The holy had turned into the profane.
It’s difficult to maintain a balance between the physical and the spiritual. A few people focus so much on being spiritual that they become “no earthly good, for heaven’s sake.” Most of us, though, struggle with the physical, everyday demands of life overwhelming the spiritual. The holy, a life of service lived in response to God’s grace, becomes the mundane of making ends meet. It may even turn into the profane or selfishly preying upon others for our own benefits.
When we wander, the Spirit comes to us with the invitation for confession, forgiveness and worship—a path to restore the balance in our lives.
Lord, thank you that when we turn to you, you always welcome us with open arms. Amen.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018–Jesus Cleanses the Temple
“His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me’” (John 2:17).
Being zealous is expressed in many ways. Jesus’ zeal inspired him to stand against the temple corruption and turn over the tables of the money changers. It also motivated him to touch and heal lepers, approach the possessed and cast out demons, and associate with sinners and tax collectors. The apostle Paul expressed his zeal in a different way—he persecuted Christians (Galatians 1:13-14).
As followers of Jesus, we all have different intensities of zeal. Zeal is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It is important for us to express our zeal, though, remembering that we have been called to love one another. Zeal that inspires an outpouring of love not only glorifies God, it also transforms lives. How different our lives are when we have a zealous love of life and others. How different other people’s lives will be when touched by such love.
Lord, gift us with the zeal to love others as you love us. Amen.
Thursday, January 18, 2018–Jesus Cleanses the Temple
“The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this’” (John 1:18)?
The Jewish authorities were seething. Jesus had created a major disruption. Animals were running loose everywhere. Coins were rolling along the ground, being snatched up by the crowds. The temple had been attacked. The authorities wanted to know why Jesus thought he had the right to do this. They also wanted to see if he would incriminate himself and enable them to arrest him. “What sign can you show us?” they demanded.
We want signs from Jesus, too, perhaps for different reasons, but we still want signs. When we are going through some difficult times and God is so quiet and appears to be so distant, we cry out for a sign. We want a sign of God’s presence and some indication of God’s love. A sign, however, has already been given to us. That sign is the cross. We need no greater demonstration of God’s presence, power, love and forgiveness than that.
Lord, thank you for your love. Prevent us from ever doubting its reality in our lives. Amen.
Friday, January 19, 2018–Jesus Cleanses the Temple
“But he was speaking of the temple of his body” (John 2:21).
The temple in Jerusalem was a magnificent structure. It was understood to be the dwelling place of Yahweh, creator of the universe and God above all gods. If one wanted to enter into God’s presence, a person did so by offering sacrifices at the temple. According to Jesus, the age of the temple was over. Eventually it would be destroyed. Jesus, however, would take its place.
Through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, everyone has access to God. Reconciliation has taken place and relationships have been restored. In the person of the Holy Spirit, God is present with us and nothing in all of creation can separate us from God. Every day we have the ability of approaching God, of walking in a relationship with God and of being used by God to accomplish God’s purpose. Something better than the temple is ours.
“Day by day, oh dear Lord, three things we pray: See you more clearly, follow you more nearly, and love you more dearly.” Amen.
Saturday, January 20, 2018–Jesus Cleanses the Temple
“After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this: and they believed” (John 2:22).
To the writer of John’s gospel, belief is more than merely assenting to the truth. At the end of the gospel he writes, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31). Believing leads to life—life with God.
Our lives with God are nurtured in several ways. Sometimes we remember what Jesus said, or what we have read in the Bible. At other times, we are enlightened by the thoughts and observations of others. There are also times when we see signs today and our faith is renewed and refreshed. All the time, the Spirit moves to give us the ability to believe and live new lives.
O Holy Spirit, open our eyes and enable us to see the signs of God before us and believe. Amen.
Sunday, January 21, 2018–Jesus Cleanses the Temple
“Many people believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing” (John 2:23).
John prefers to use the word, “signs” to “miracles.” Miracles are often limited in scope. We are impressed by the sleight-of-hand, or the “miracles” of magicians. We are thankful for the miraculous healings, the blessed coincidences and the pleasant surprises in our lives. Signs are different than miracles. By their very nature, signs point beyond themselves. In John, whether it is the wedding at Cana, the healing of the official’s son or the feeding of the five thousand, these signs communicate something. They are demonstrations of who Jesus is and avenues that the Holy Spirit uses to communicate God’s word. Their purpose is to inspire belief and not just awe.
Signs of God’s power, presence and love are not limited to the Bible. Signs have occurred throughout the centuries and continue today. The water of baptism and the bread and wine of communion can be seen as signs—they point beyond themselves. Distributing food at a food bank, building a house for Habitat for Humanity, visiting with the elderly at a health care facility and teaching at a Vacation Bible School can all be perceived as signs. People are able to see God’s love, grace and presence—and seeing might inspire them to believe and live life.
We are privileged not only to see God’s signs, but to also be God’s signs. The Holy Spirit works through us to touch and change the lives of others.
Shine through us, Lord, that others might see you in our words and deeds. Amen.