Jesus Cleanses the Temple
John 2:13-22

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Video of Jesus Cleansing the Temple (from the same movie)


Intro: Main points 1. Setting 2. The problem presented 3. Action Taken 4. Reaction

Read the Passage:  John 2:13 – 22

  1. SETTING: V13 Old Testament Temple  
  1. Our topic this year is living loved and then we show a video of Jesus whipping people.  How does this fit in with that theme. My hope is by the end we can not only see how this not only fits with what Jesus did, but also how it applies to us.  
  2. You have to understand that just to step into the court of the temple, you have to be ritually clean via various and sundry washings, depending on what made you unclean and whether you were a man or a woman (Lev 13, 14, 15).  
  3. Inside the inner court were objects of worship that were made to the dimensions of divine origin – the alter, the wash basin and the carts for the service. Things were made a certain way and used only in the way commanded.  NOTHING NOT COMMANDED WAS ALLOWED. Lev 10 – N and A
  1. THE PROBLEM COMFRONTED  V12-14 “12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers[b] and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.”
    1. OBEDIENCE. We have just seen that nothing that was not explicitly commanded was permitted and now this.  But see we get messed up because we come at this from a New Testament view point. What’s the big deal? But Jesus is protective of his what His Father’s worship was supposed to be.  
    2. Do we take notice when things are out of place in the worship of God?  It is so easy to rationalize, isn’t it. To take what is common and mix it with the worship of God.  Jesus takes notice, do we?
    3. We are going to have to look at what this looks like in OUR day because we are no longer in a temple context.
  2. ACTION TAKEN V15 – V16 “15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
    1. Jesus takes action by MAKING a whip.  
    2. Disciples did not participate.  They watched. Jesus was willing to stand alone.
    3. Can we ask ourselves an honest but very simple question? Are we willing to take action?  If we are going to be like Christ, then this is the standard and He is calling us to partner with Him in the ministry of cleansing, and that takes ACTION.  We are going to look at what this means in a New Testament context but we have to stop right now and settle it in our minds that whatever God asks us to do, we will do.  No matter what that means.
    4. You ever have those time when you KNOW God wants you to take action?  Jesus did NOTHING but what he saw the Father doing. We have God’s word, and the indwelling Holy Spirit and so we can join Christ in the way He lived as it says in John 5:19 “19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father[a] does, that the Son does likewise.”
  1. REACTION V17 – V22 “17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me. 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple,[c] and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”
    1. REACTION 1 The people run.  Success. How? Have you ever tried to separate someone from their God?  His commitment, conviction, and courage in the Holy Spirit.
    2. REACTION 2. Disciples are reminded of the Scripture Psalm 69:9. “For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.” They are searching for an answer for what would make Jesus so enraged.  This verse is from a Psalm where the author is crying out because of persecution in a place where the more he follows after God, the more the people seem to hate him. Are we willing to stand up for what is write regardless of the consequences?
    3. REACTION 3.  Consequences Jews demand a sign. V18 “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”  
      1. Can you imagine being confronted by members of the Sanhedrin, Priests, scribes, and accompanying soldiers?  When you act on the behalf of God and the purity of His worship your integrity will be questioned. Do NOT let them INTIMIDATE you.  
      2. Have you ever stood up for righteousness at work or in church and everyone is impressed and then – CONSEQUENCE – maybe you got fired.  
      3. Who do you fear? God or man? Prov 29:25 “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
      4. We get so scared of what other people think, but what they think does not matter.  Heb 13:6 “6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” and again Isaiah 26: 3-4 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” And


  1. In the New Testament, the temple is the CHURCH 1 Peter 2:5 “5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  We are all members of this building made up of living stones. And again, Ephesians 2:18 – 22 “18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, [d] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[e] the Spirit.”
    1. If Jesus were to come to our temple, with his glory vailed, what would He find?  I believe God is asking us to ask ourselves as a church, this question in deep reverent prayer.  Imagine He came to use and then left and sent us a letter? What would it read? Did you know that Jesus Himself wrote some letters to specific churches?  Rev 2:1- 5, “1 To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Rev 3:14 – 20 14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
  2. In the New Testament the temple is also YOU, as in not just the church collectively, but you as an INDIVIDUAL.  
    1. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit 1 Cor 3:16-17 “16 Do you not know that you[c] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”  And again, 1 Cor 6:19 – 20 “19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”  Just think about that. The Holy of Holies is now your heart, with the manifest presence of God almighty inside.
    2. How is your temple?  Have you profaned the temple?  They needed a whip to wake them up. Repent before you are in need of the chastisement of the Lord (Heb 12:5)   
    3. There will invariably be things in the tabernacle of your heart that MUST be driven out by Christ Himself.  Relationships that you know you should not be in. Addictions. Laziness. Anger and hate. Lust. Pornography. Gossip.  Obsession with how others view you (not making Christ your identity), being offended (addiction to victim identity), unloving, strife, selfish patterns of thinking, unkindness, defensiveness and pride. Does this sound like any of US?  If you look at the letters to the churches of Revelation, three big sins 1) Not loving God above all (Ephesians) 2) Sexual immorality (Pergamum, Thyatira) 3) Spiritual Lethargy (Sardis and Laodicea).
      1. Are you coming in here with your heart full of love for something else other than God?  Repent and be zealous.
      2. Are you engaged in sexual immorality?  Do you not know that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit?  Do you really want to pose the Holy Spirit to that? 1 Cor 6:18 “18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin[b] a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
      3. Are we filled with Spiritual Lethargy?  Are we drifting, backslidden, resting our laurels, not realizing that we are in a battle?  REPENT and wake up, as it says in Rev 3. He cleanses the temple with something sudden and violent because it sometimes TAKES that kind of thing to wake us up.  
    4. What is the solution?  Do you want to drive these things out?  I dare you to try. Jesus does not call you to repent to so that YOU can drive them out on your own.  We need JESUS to come and cleans the temple, and the exciting thing is He is inviting us in to give our all to drive out these things WITH Him.  Cleanse so that all the Ananias and Sefira’s would be left gasping on the floor dying and all the sorcerers like Simon would be rebuked and silenced, Balaam and Jezebel would be cast out, and the lukewarm and dead Christians would be set on Fire, and the sexual immoral would repent, and the dry and loveless Christian would be full of fire and passion for the Lord….and most of all, to bring it back to the text here, that this would be a “house” of PRAYER and not something dedicated to some common practice.  
    5. We can do anything in Him.  Did you know that? Do you FEEL THAT?  That is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  We can do anything in Him, we can do ANYTHING. Maybe you don’t feel that because you don’t actually believe that.  Maybe it is that we barely KNOW Him? Transformation, cleansing, it is in KNOWING Him, 2 Cor 3:18 “18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, [a] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. [b] For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”  Listen, if we can do all things, then we can drive out anything that is here in the heart that shouldn’t be there.
    6. How does this all relate to our theme this year, Living loved? Only when we have been cleansed can we really live loved.  We are always living loved either way, right? If you are saved right now, you are enough, as long as you are in Christ, but what if I’m not experiencing it?  What if I’m not walking in power, waking in victory. But how can we touch the would if the King is displeased with us? 2 Timothy 2:20 – 21 “20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, [d] he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”