Zeal For God's House
Join us as we learn about how Jesus’ zeal for God’s house teaches us that our hearts are God’s home, God’s house has a purpose, and His authority came from the resurrection.
September 24, 2023
“Zeal for God’s House”
by Ben Caldwell
Something about Being Zealous… zeal /zēl/ noun great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.
“After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days. When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.”
John 2:12-13 NIV
The celebration of the Passover was a big deal… a really big deal for the Jewish people. Every male within 15 miles of Jerusalem was required to come to this city and many others came regardless of the distance or what it cost them to be there.
“In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 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. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!””
John 2:14-16 NIV
What on earth is Jesus making such a big deal about? What have they done wrong to make him so mad?
Well, there are several things happening here…
-First, these aren’t just venders who are trying to make a living. Instead these people have found a way to make a killing on worship.
-Second, most of the people who come to Jerusalem for the Passover are coming a long way. So most of them are not bringing their sacrificial animals with them. So the temple leaders raised these animals and sold them for exorbitant prices. Clearly, the temple leaders were making big bucks; and the problem is: they are getting rich off of these people’s required worship experiences.
-Third, the problem is the only place you can worship if you a Gentile is in the court of the Gentiles and that is where they have all this buying and selling going on.
So for all these reasons, Jesus is angry. That wasn’t the way God intended worship to be. Instead of working to bring people closer to God, the priests are working to get rich; they are not doing what they are supposed to do.
“His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 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.”
John 2:17-22 NIV
What are some things that we learn from this passage of scripture. What is it that Jesus’ Zeal for God’s House teaches us?
The first thing is:
1. My Heart is God’s Home (He teaches us about Purity)
What makes Jesus mad is…
-The Temple is the place where people meet God.
-It is supposed to be the place in the Old Covenant where God’s Spirit lives.
-We should consider everything that happened in the temple a holy event.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
John 14:16-17 NIV
Under the New Covenant, Jesus dies and is raised to life again. Then he tells his followers he is going to ascend to the Father and send His Holy Spirit to live… where? In our hearts. What that means is that instead of the temple building or the church building being treated with special holiness and reverence… our lives are supposed to be treated that way.
We were made to be redeemed by God and to magnify Him, bringing glory to Him. And those purposes should help us determine what purity looks like.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV
For the Christian, your morality should come from God himself.
-What does He say in the Bible will bring him honor? Do that!
-Let that define your life. Not happiness. Not what you feel like doing in that moment. Not how you identify yourself.
-What makes you happy today won’t necessarily make you happy tomorrow.
-God and His Word and Will stand forever.
-What temple tables will Jesus have to turn over in your life to get your attention?
-In what ways will our Heavenly Father have to discipline you to get you to take holiness seriously?
At some point we have to take God’s call to purity seriously. And if we don’t we will end up punishing ourselves in ways we haven’t even thought of yet.
Jesus’ Zeal for God’s House teaches us:
2. God’s House Has a Purpose
The reason Jesus was angry was because the religious leaders lost sight of what they were supposed to be doing. Their job was to help connect people with HIM.
Matthew 21 tells us that Jesus goes to the temple and does these same things… probably again later in his ministry and that time he says:
““It is written,” he said to them, “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’””
Matthew 21:13 NIV
In his book, Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren says, “The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.”
We ask self-centered questions like…
“What do I want to be?”
“What should I do with my life?”
“What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future?”
But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. You can’t discover your life’s purpose by looking within yourself.
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”
Colossians 1:16 NIV
Jesus’ Zeal for God’s House teaches us:
3. His Authority Came from the Resurrection
Look at (John 2) verse 22 again:
“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.”
John 2:22 NIV
When the religious leaders questioned Jesus they said, “What sign will you give us to show us you have authority to drive these people out of the temple. And he says, “The only sign your gonna get is when you destroy this temple, three days later I will restore it.” He’s talking about his resurrection from the dead.
-Jesus has authority over our lives because He is God.
-His ability to bring himself back from the dead is a sign to us.
-So whatever Jesus tells us, we need to do.
-The sign that Jesus has authority is his resurrection.
Scripture is our means for understanding. Are you spending time reading God’s word?
-Choose a quiet time (a time when you decide to “Be still and know that He is God.”)
-Open the Bible and ask the Lord to teach you… to speak to you personally.
-Ask God to speak to your life.
-Ask what do I need?
-Ask How should I live?
-Open the Bible and read.
-Make a list of things to pray for.
-Pray about what is on your heart.
-Spend some time talking to God and seeking to know Him.
-Maybe read some devotional material.
-Maybe fast and pray.
-Maybe practice the discipline of silence.
How do we continue to seek God?
-Talk to him.
-Read his instruction book for your life.
-Let Him have authority over the way you live.
You will find that HIS word brings life, even when the things God tells you are hard to understand or accept.