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What would Jesus cleanse from your church, your life?

“And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.” John 2:13-22

All the males in Israel were required to appear before the LORD God at the temple in Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover. In addition to other sacrifices, an unblemished lamb was to be sacrificed and eaten, and temple taxes were to be paid. As a result, the outer courts of the temple became a place where merchants, for a profit, sold animals for sacrifice and exchanged money for the coins needed for the temple tax.

Jesus, when He saw it, made a whip of cords and drove them out of the temple, saying, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.”

When asked for a sign to prove His Messianic claims and his authority to do this, Jesus told the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Jesus wasn’t referring to the temple building in Jerusalem but to His own body. The sign He gave to verify that He is the Messiah and has the authority to drive out those who abuse His Father’s house was His own resurrection from the dead; for, as He said would happen, the Jews destroyed the temple of His body, but He raised it up again on the third day.

The Jews misunderstood His words, thinking of the new Jewish temple, which had been under construction already for 46 years and was not yet finished. But Jesus’ disciples came to understand His words after He had risen from the dead.

What would Jesus do should He walk into our church buildings today? Would He be pleased with our activities and programs, or would He drive them out? Each church should be a “house of prayer,” not a “den of thieves” (Matt. 21:13; cf. 21:12ff. where Jesus again cleansed the temple during the week of His crucifixion).

Would Jesus be pleased with those who use the churches to sell their goods or advance their careers? Would He say it is okay for groups to sell insurance and retirement plans in connection with the church? Would it be alright to hold all manner of sales and raffles to raise money? What about the many fundraisers and campaigns to support the work of the church? These are tough questions that churches must prayerfully consider and answer with the guidance of God’s Word.

But what about the temples of our bodies? The Scriptures tell all who believe: “Ye are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16); and, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16-17).

Jesus is zealous for God’s house, as the Scriptures say, “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (Psalm 69:9). Not only is Jesus concerned for the earthly temples built with our hands, but He is also concerned with the temples of our bodies which He has created and redeemed. What would He cast out and cleanse away in your body or in your life?

Are our bodies a “house of prayer” devoted to the LORD God and seeking His glory? Does “the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in [our] hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16)? Or, are our bodies and lives filled with our own selfishness and greed? Are we living for ourselves rather than for Christ Jesus, who both created us and then also redeemed us with His own precious blood? Do we use our bodies to fulfill our selfish and sinful desires or to bring praise and glory to God?

Is Jesus even welcome in the temples of our bodies, or do we question His authority to come into our lives and cast out what is offensive to Him? Indeed, many do challenge Jesus’ authority to reveal and cleanse what offends Him!

We, by our sins, destroyed the temple of Jesus’ body. He was crucified and suffered on the cross to pay the just penalty for our sins and the sins of the world. He was condemned by God and died in our stead, on account of our sins. But Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior, did rise again from the dead in victory on the third day, as He said! He redeemed us and made full atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world! His resurrection is proof! It is the sign of which Jesus spoke! Through faith in Him, we are forgiven and promised eternal life with Him in heaven!

Jesus has the authority to cast out what is evil from the lives of those who trust in Him. He has the right to cleanse us, and He is zealous for us and our holiness. He comes to us as believers and dwells in us by His Holy Spirit, and He desires that we be wholly devoted to the will and service of God our Father.

God grant that we do not challenge His authority to purify and cleanse us but welcome His coming and rejoice in the mercy and forgiveness He gives to us for the sake of His innocent sufferings, death, and victorious resurrection!

Jesus paid the full price for our sins, and He forgives and accepts us when we look to Him in faith. At the same time, He also works in us to cleanse us so that we might live our lives for Him. May He continue to cleanse our hearts and souls!

O dearest Jesus, come into my heart and cast out whate’er offends. Forgive me for the sake of Your precious blood shed for my sins, and cleanse my heart and soul that I might live for You. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:16-17 (Read John 7:10-18)

The Jews were divided over who Jesus was and whether His teaching was of God. John 7:12 tells us, “Some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.” Though many were curious about Jesus, most were afraid to speak of Him openly because they were afraid of the Jewish rulers.

When Jesus came to the feast and began teaching in the temple, the people wondered how Jesus had such knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures since He had not studied under the religious leaders and received formal training as a rabbi and teacher of God’s Word. Jesus pointed out that His doctrine, His teaching, was not His own but His who sent Him.

So, today, many would preclude anyone from teaching God’s Word unless he is first formally trained in a seminary and certified by a church body. The important thing here is not formal training or certification by schools and church bodies but faithfulness to the Word of God.

Jesus responded, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” The teaching, the doctrine, of Jesus was not His own but that of God the Father, who sent Him into the world to proclaim the truth and to accomplish the redemption of fallen mankind. In other words, what Jesus taught was not some new doctrine; it was and is the same doctrine taught and revealed throughout the Holy Scriptures. Jesus pointed out man’s sin and guilt before God and man’s need to repent and look to Him as Messiah and Savior.

It was and is only through repentance and faith in Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross that anyone can be pardoned and spared in God’s judgment upon this world! Jesus told Nicodemus when he came to visit Jesus at night (John 3:14-16,18): “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. … He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

It is as Jesus said to some of the most legalistic among the Jewish leaders: “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). To His own disciples, He later said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

How could Jesus’ hearers know His doctrine was true? Jesus said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). In other words, if anyone listens to God’s Word and seeks to do what God wills and directs him to do, he will see and know that Jesus’ doctrine is that of God the Father and the truth.

The Old Testament Scriptures — the writings of Moses and the Prophets, as well as the other Writings of Scripture — all pointed ahead to the coming of Jesus, the Messiah and Savior of the world. They taught that God’s own Son would be born into this world as a man, that He would teach the truth, and that He would suffer and die as a perfect and holy sacrifice to make atonement for the sins of the world and rise again to establish an everlasting kingdom.

Those who do the will of God and repent of their evil ways, looking in faith to Jesus, the promised Messiah and Savior, for pardon, forgiveness, and life eternal, will know that Jesus’ teaching is true, for it is the same teaching God gave in the Holy Scriptures. And Jesus’ promises are true. He offers forgiveness and eternal life to all who look to Him and His cross in faith.

O Jesus, my Savior, grant that I hear and believe Your Word as the true and life-giving Word of God, that I repent of my sins and trust in You and Your holy sacrifice on the cross for pardon, forgiveness, and life eternal. Amen.

[Scipture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.“ John 2:1-11

Jesus’ presence at a wedding feast in Cana and His turning water into wine (120-180 gallons of it) has troubled some who regard it as sinful to consume any alcoholic beverages, but far more important is what this miracle reveals about Him.

Even though it was not yet His time to be revealed as the Son of God in human flesh and the Messiah and Savior of the world, Jesus used the divine power He possessed as God the Son to come to the aid of a wedding party in an embarrassing situation — they had run out of wine. And not only did Jesus turn water into wine; it was the best wine served at the feast!

In addition to proving that one can consume wine without sin (it is drunkenness that is sin), this miracle, of which many at the feast had no knowledge, revealed to Jesus’ disciples the glory and power that Jesus possessed as the Son of God.

The result was not only a wedding feast without the embarrassment to the host of running out of wine, it was a revelation of His person to His disciples, causing them to believe that He indeed was and is the Son of God and the Messiah of Israel.

The Apostle John, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, records this miracle for us so that we too might see and believe that this same Jesus who humbled Himself and lived among us as a true man is more than just a man or even a great prophet and teacher. Jesus was and is Jehovah God in human flesh!

This miracle is but one proof of that fact. He also healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, fed the multitudes, raised the dead, and He Himself rose again from the dead!

Through the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit reveals to us Jesus’ divine glory and might; and through the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit reveals to us that Jesus, the very Son of God, redeemed us and all mankind from sin and death by His own innocent sufferings and death in our stead. Jesus’ resurrection is proof that our salvation is won — we’ve been redeemed by the blood of “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Oh, that all would see and believe that Jesus is God the Son and that He is our only Savior from sin and its consequences! Oh, that all would place their faith and trust in Him!

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, grant that I see your divine glory and believe that You indeed are my God and my Savior. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” John 1:35-37

We may not count it important to just point people to Jesus, but that is what John the Baptist did. He was standing with two of his disciples when Jesus walked by, and he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

The Lamb of God is that one foreshadowed by the ram caught by its horns in a thicket that was the substitute God provided to be offered up to the LORD in the place of Abraham’s son Isaac (cf. Gen. 22:1-19).

The Lamb of God is that one foreshadowed by the paschal lamb whose blood was put upon the two door posts and the lintel of each Israelite home that the angel of death might pass over and not kill the firstborn of the Israelites when God carried out His judgment upon the Egyptians (Ex. 12:1-28).

The Lamb of God was foreshadowed by the many unblemished lambs offered for generations to make atonement for the sins of the people (cf. Lev. 1).

Jesus is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (v. 29). He is sinless and unblemished, having fulfilled all the righteous demands of God’s law in our place (cf. Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). And Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. The LORD God laid our sin and iniquity upon Jesus, punishing Him in our stead (cf. Isa. 53:6; 1 John 2:2). Therefore, when we look in faith to Jesus, the crucified and risen Lamb of God, we sinners have forgiveness and life — He paid in full for the sins of the whole world!

So also today, we who know Jesus can direct others to Him, telling them to look to Jesus, that Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Look to Jesus! He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world! He paid in full for mankind’s sins when He suffered and died on the cross. He rose from the dead and lives, and all who look to Him in faith for forgiveness and eternal life are graciously pardoned and received into God’s everlasting family.

Through John’s witness, the two disciples of John followed Jesus to learn more about Him. Through the Gospel witness of believers in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit works to bring others to Jesus so that they too might know Him as their Redeemer and Savior and trust in Him as their sacrifice for sin!

As the two disciples of John heard John’s witness concerning Jesus and followed Him to learn more, so also today, people directed to Jesus by your witness and mine may be called by God’s Spirit to come to Jesus, learn of Him, and believe in His name. We may not be able to preach like John the Baptist, but we can still tell people to look to Jesus, for He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

In Jesus the Messiah, God offers forgiveness and life everlasting to all. Look to Jesus, for in Him you will find mercy and forgiveness. In Him, you will find eternal life!

O dearest Jesus, thank You for going to the cross and bearing the guilt and punishment for all my sins. Grant that I also might point others to You so that they too might follow You, learn of You, and receive forgiveness and life everlasting through faith in Your name. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judæa, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.” John 7:2-9

Until Jesus’ crucifixion and glorious resurrection, Jesus’ own brothers did not believe in Him.

We see that His own brethren chided Him about going up to Jerusalem and showing His mighty works to His disciples so that He would become known and accepted as the Messiah. They told Jesus that, if He wanted people to believe in Him, He should openly show by His works that He is the Messiah and Savior He claimed to be (cf. Matt. 4:1ff.).

Of course, faith comes from the Holy Spirit revealing God’s truth to hearers of God’s Word and not by observing miracles (cf. John 6:63; Rom. 10:17). Jesus would not establish His kingdom by working miracles. Rather, it would be through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.

Jesus pointed out to His brothers that His time (the time for Him to be revealed as the Messiah and Savior by His death on the cross and His resurrection on the third day) was not yet. However, it was their time to repent of their sinful ways and look to Him as their Savior from sin and eternal death and damnation.

It is somewhat striking to note that Jesus’ own brethren, despite the teaching and instruction of Mary and Joseph, did not believe in Jesus as God the Son in human flesh, who came into this world to die for the sins of all and rise again. Yes, it is true that even the best parents can raise children who do not believe — again, because faith in Christ Jesus is the result of the Spirit’s working through the Word and not through human efforts or arguments.

For those who do not believe, the time is always ripe for them to hear and consider God’s Word so that the Holy Spirit might convince them of its truthfulness and move them to place their faith in Jesus and His cross. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

Jesus pointed out that the world did not hate His brothers because they were of the world, but the world hated Jesus because He testified of the world that its works were evil and unacceptable in God’s eyes. The same is true today. The world loves and accepts churches that wink at sin and preach a gospel of universal justification and acceptance, but the world hates churches and believers who teach all that the Bible teaches and call upon all to repent of their evil and sinful ways and look in faith to Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross as their only hope of salvation.

Jesus did not come into this world to wow people into believing by working mighty miracles, healing the sick, and feeding the poor. He came into this world to uphold God’s law and fulfill all its righteous demands in our stead and then to bear on the cross the full and just punishment God’s law demands on account of our sins that we might repent and look to Him and His cross in faith and be saved!

It’s not quite yet time for Jesus to return to earth and show Himself to the world as the almighty God and our Judge. It is, however, your time and my time to repent and look to Him for pardon and forgiveness before it is too late!

Grant that I hear Your life-giving Word, O Lord, and that Your Spirit enlighten my heart to believe. In the name of Christ Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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