3rd Sunday in Lent
Series B
John 2:13-22
March 26, 2000
The Attitude of Cleansing

A Bold Lenten Cleansing

INTRODUCTION:  Can 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.

I.                    Jesus cleansed the temple of mammon lovers.

            A. The 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.

II.                 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.

CONCLUSION:  In 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+