Jesus, the temple of God
Reading: John 2:13-22
Props: coins, table, animals
Blanks: Jerusalem, temple, turned, Stop, love, destroy, body
(3) Two thousand years ago, in Israel, there was a temple in Jerusalem.
It looked like this.
People came here and worshiped God.
(3) This temple had about 4 different courts, or four different areas.
For example, there was the Court of the Gentiles.
If you were not Jewish, you could come here and pray.
However, you could not come beyond this area.
Then there was the court of women.
If you were Jewish women, you could come here and pray.
But if you needed to offer a sacrifice, you could come to the court of Israel.
Otherwise, you could not come beyond this court of women.
Then there was the court of Israel.
If you were Jewish men, you could come here and pray.
Here you could also give your animals to the priest so that they could offer to God.
Then there was the court of the priests.
If you were Jewish priests, you could come and pray.
Lastly, if you were the high priest, you could come to the Holy Place once a year.
Then you offered a sacrifice for the whole world on the Day of Atonement, the day of reconciliation.
(3) This is the way they were supposed to use this temple.
But on the Passover, they violated this rule:
In the Passover season the temple was crowded, because many people came from many nations to offer sacrifices to God.
Some of them were not Jewish.
(3) Then the temple authority decided to raise money on the Passover season.
So they used the Court of the Gentiles to sell animals and exchanged money.
So this kind of situation happened:
(3) These pilgrims bought animals to offer to God.
They might also want to give thanks to God for what God has done in their life.
But when they tried to offer their animals to God, the inspectors appeared.
They checked whether those animals had any blemish, imperfection or defect.
If there was, they would say:
“You cannot give these animals to God because it had defect.
But we have these animals that the priests have already approved.
So go buy those animals.”
(3) But in order to buy those animals, first they need to exchanged money.
In those days, most coins had various engraved images.
Meaning, some coins had images of persons or animals in them.
But in the temple, they couldn’t use those coins.
They could only use coins that didn’t have human and animal images in them.
So in order to buy animals in the temple, people had to exchange their money first.
But exchanging money could be costly.
(3) And sometimes, just because their silver coins were worn out, they had to pay more.
(3) Anyway after exchanging money, they could buy animals which was also expensive.
For example, some pigeon was 10 times more expensive than outside.
But people wanted to offer sacrifices to God.
So they bought animals.
(1) But again it was sold at the court of Gentiles
Non-Jewish people were supposed to pray to God here.
God wanted to hear their prayer.
(1) But this place of prayer sounded like a market place.
Some people might have talked loudly.
Some might have been shouting.
It sounded like a playground.
(3) Now let’s imagine a quiet library.
Have you been to a quiet library?
What does people do in library?
Right they are reading.
So when you talk, you whisper, right?
You talk quietly, so that people can read their books.
(3) But what will happen if you shout at the library?
(3) Well, that is what Jesus found when he came to the temple.
People need to pray there.
But he found people negotiating, talking, yelling and selling animals and exchanging money and so on.
So non-Jewish people might have asked:
“Where can I pray?”
Then people might have said:
So Jesus wanted to make this place a place of prayer again.
So he said something like this:
(3) “You, who are selling animals and exchanging money:
Get out of here!
This is the place of prayer!”
(3) Then he turned over the tables.
He tried to make this place a place of prayer.
(3) Then they challenged Jesus saying:
“Who are you?
Why do you act like this?
Can you show us that you have the authority to do this here?”
Then Jesus was like:
“Pull down this temple.
Then I will show you that I have the authority by raising it up in three days.”
They were like:
“It took forty-six years to build this temple.
Can you raise it in three days?
What are you talking about?”
Well, Jesus didn’t answer them right away.
But Jesus was saying something like this:
(3) “This temple was supposed to represent me.
God gave you this temple to explain about my ministry.
(3) Now I am the temple where God dwells.
So you don’t need this temple anymore.
Without it, God will love you and forgive you because of me.
(3) But you will kill me.
Meaning, you will pull down the temple.
But God will raise me up from the dead in three days.”
(3) “God will forgive you, because I will be offered for your forgiveness of sins.
I will pay the full price for your forgiveness.
So when you ask for your forgiveness in my name, God will forgive.
(3) “That means, you don’t need to offer animals to God any more.
No more animal sacrifices.
You don’t need to kill any animal to be forgiven.
(4) "Then no more of this division between the courts of gentiles, the courts of women, the courts of men, the courts of priests and so on.
There is no division before God.
So the gentiles can come to the Holy Place and even to God.
Everyone is equal.
So we don’t need these walls.
And I will reconcile all people so that all people can come and meet God as the one people of God from now on.
(3) "Lastly, if you believe in me, God will even use you as God’s temples and dwell in you.
God will speak through you, just like God speaks through me.
So believe in me and remain in me.”
That is basically what Jesus says today.
Jesus, help us worship you and live according to your will.
In Jesus name, we pray.