September 9, 2020
John 2:13-19
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  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!”  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.”

New International Version (NIV)
Is there a Jesus we never knew?  Philip Yancey wrote a book by that title, “The Jesus I Never Knew.”  I like to think I know all I need to know about Jesus.  Then he surprises me again.  It turns out for Jesus, the bottom line is not the bottom line.  Why not? 

Are we surprised that Jesus turned the temple courts upside down?  Or do we look past that because we like the softer side of his character?  “Gentle Jesus meek and mild.”  But not here.   John’s gospel is often described as one that shows us more of the divinity of Jesus than the other gospels.  I think this is right, but I always add, “and more of his humanity.”  In this gospel Jesus also thirsts and weeps and becomes sleepy. 

This is Jesus in full Indiana Jones mode.  He pulled out a whip and ran people and animals out of the temple courts.  Jesus made a mess, scattering coins on the ground.  Did he raise his voice as he cleared the people out of there?  Someone might have muttered, “What has gotten into Jesus?”  The leaders wanted something to authenticate such extreme actions.  “Who do you think you are?” they must have wondered. 

Jesus saw the temple as his Father’s house.  Luke tells us he first called it that when Jesus stayed behind as a twelve year old.  Around twenty years later, Jesus exercised the authority of the only begotten Son of God full of grace and truth.  There is grace in being told the truth.  Jesus came to make his Father known.  Not everything is about making money.  Especially not our worship. 

Maybe Jesus should surprise us.  He certainly surprised the religious leaders.  If we ever try to squeeze Jesus into the mold of helping us realize our dreams, he will shake free of our constraints.   If we succumb to the illusion that life is finally all about making money and God exists to help us accomplish our economic plans, he pulls out the whip again.  Like the religious leaders of that day, we can still make our religion a means to our end.  Jesus clearing the temple certainly disabuses us of that thought.

Matthew tells us in his gospel that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.  Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).  It’s not that money is bad.  But money is a terrible substitute for God.  It is as bad an idol as any other. 

If I think I have Jesus figured out, I need to think again.  He is never just a genie to grant my wishes.  Jesus can’t be a means to any end, because Jesus is the end itself!  After all these years there are dimensions of Jesus that I still don’t know.  But I won’t stop learning until I do.  How about you?
Pray with me:         
Father, forgive us for we have sinned.  Our whole world says that the bottom line is the bottom line.  You could be really helpful if you would bless us so that we become healthy, wealthy and wise.  But our surprising Savior keeps on teaching us that we can’t use you to get ahead.  Teach us to love you alone.  Help us to grow in knowledge of Christ so that we grow up into the people you always knew we could be.  Feel free to upset our apple carts.  It turns out that the carts were never ours anyway.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 6:29-30
Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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