Sunday in Lent
March 26, 2000
The Attitude of Cleansing
A Bold Lenten Cleansing
you imagine standing in the darkness of a coalmine wearing a white suit?
While in the dark, everything might seems fine, but when you return to
the surface in the light of day, you become painfully aware of the need to have
your suit cleaned. This morning we see Jesus bringing us into the light as He
enters the Jerusalem temple and initiates A BOLD LENTEN CLEANSING.
Jesus cleansed the temple of mammon lovers.
Jewish leaders disregard His authority by demanding a sign and raising a
skeptical question. “The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, ‘What
sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?’"
(verse 18) They could
not understand, nor could they accept that this Jesus could be the Savior of the
world and the 0ne who came to establish a perfect avenue for us to come to the
Father. Likewise, in our world and
time, there are similar skeptics. They question the authority of the Word of God
in our life. They question the authenticity of Jesus. They fail to see His
authority, and so, they question Him as well.
B. The disciples fail to understand the meaning of His reference to the temple of His body. Jesus
answered and said to them, "Destroy
this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (Verse 19)
These words of Jesus are a
wake up call for you and me in the church today.
Where do we find the authority of Jesus Christ? We find it in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and His appearances to His followers, which gives proof to the claims of Jesus Christ. This is the claim of Jesus Christ and the Christian faith – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. St. Paul put it this way (1 Corinthians 15:14) “…and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” It is in the proof of the resurrection that we find the claims of Jesus Christ to contain all truth.
C. Jesus predicts the cleansing death and resurrection of
the temple of His body with the disciples later believing His Word. This is what
gives us forgiveness and life. Jesus
Christ died for us. He rose from the dead to claim a place for us in His
kingdom. In Jesus Christ all sin is
forgiven period. Sin is man’s
greatest ill. The forgiveness of our sins is man’s greatest gain.
The resurrection proves the cross to be legitimate.
Jesus cleanses us by His death and resurrection.
A. We often question Jesus’ authority to challenge us and
cleanse us or fail to understand His words.
So many temptations and doubts beset us. The devil would love to see us
give up in despair. Satan would love to have us doubt His word. But Jesus can be
trusted at His Word. He can be taken at His Word. He gives us His Word and backs
up His Word by going to the cross and taking up His life again to bring us
salvation and life.
B. Jesus points us to the cleansing death and resurrection
of the temple of His body with the result that we believe His Word. He
demonstrated His power at the cross. He destroyed death and sin at the cross and
then vindicated His mission by coming back to life on the third day.
You and I are Easter people. We live in this freedom and it is all
signed, sealed, and delivered at the cross and empty tomb.
a soiled white suit exposed to the light of God’s Word having flagrantly
disregarded the Father’s honor and the Son’s authority, we accept the
cleansing of Jesus, whose temple was destroyed and rebuilt in three days. In
His death and resurrection we are made clean. Ajax is whiter then dirt.
Jesus is brighter then sin and has overcome death for us. A bold Lenten cleansing indeed!
Soli Deo Gloria+