August 24th, Day #6 - John 2:13-25
But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. – John 2:24-25
Jesus understands what is in our hearts. The good, bad, epic, ugly, you name it. Even our best intentions can be a mixture of goodwill and selfishness, all at the same time.
Where have people let you down? How have you let others down?
Ask God how He can bring His healing and restoration to you and to others.
Read John 2:13-25
We don’t often think of Jesus being the kind of person to pick a fight, but here we are.
Jesus was zealous. Zeal gets a bad rap in our world today – at least as it pertains to faith. We can be zealous about all kinds of political causes or hobbies, but people get nervous about religious zeal.
Let’s be honest, there’s probably good reason for that. Religious zeal has historically, and currently, leads to significant suffering around the world.
So let’s get clear about Jesus’ zeal.
His zeal was driven by a passion that people draw near to the Father. Temple commerce was keeping people from God. This was intolerable to Jesus. His passion was that the path to God would be cleared – and He would clear the way even more at the cross. May we share His zeal to see people know the Father.
Let’s look to what God wants to say directly to you today through John 2:13-25
Scripture: Write out the verse that you sense God wanting you to meditate on longer. Then, write down your mediation.
Observation: What do you suppose Jesus was passionate about? Buildings? Rules? People? What do you think is behind His passion?
Application: What does it look like when you are really passionate for God? How do you act? What do you do?
Prayer: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see as Jesus saw and to help you grow in your passion for those things that matter most to God.
To better understand Jesus's concern for the Gentiles, and His prediction about the Temple's future, read more here about the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in the 1st century AD.
The third temple itself sat skewed in the center of the large courtyard so that its entrance might better face due east. A balustrade—a low wall of stone posts and caps—surrounded it, defining the inner boundary of the Court of Gentiles. It was this courtyard, between the balustrade and the outer walls, where Gentiles could go to worship. It was also this court where Jesus drove out the money changers in Matthew 21:12. It was unlawful for any Gentile to go past the balustrade, an offense punishable by death, which the Roman leaders allowed the Jewish authorities to carry out. Paul was attacked by a mob of Asian Jews in Acts 21:27–32because it was presumed he took a Gentile friend beyond this court and into the temple. The commander of the garrison in Fort Antonia intervened before the crowd could kill him.
Like the outer courtyard, the temple was enclosed by a wall on the outside; storage and work rooms as well as gate houses lined the inside. Fourteen steps up the east side of the Court of the Gentiles sat the main entrance, possibly called the Beautiful Gate, which led to the Women’s Court, although women were required to use the gates on the north and south. To the left of the entrance sat thirteen trumpet-shaped containers for voluntary offerings. It was here that Jesus noticed the widow donating her last mite in Mark 12:41–44. Directly west of the Beautiful Gate and up fifteen steps was the Gate of Nicanor, where Mary brought the Baby Jesus at the time of His presentation. Through this gate was the Court of Israel where the ceremonially clean Jewish men could congregate. Four gates, two on the south, two on the north, also led into this court. A low balustrade and another staircase separated it from the Court of the Priests; three gates, one each from the south, west, and north, provided direct access for the priests from the outer courtyard.
The center, near edge of the Court of Priests was dedicated to the altar. Forty-five feet on each side and twenty-two feet high, it was made of uncarved stone. In an earlier manifestation, the nearby area where the animals were slaughtered was fitted with a trough of running water, fed by a spring and underground cisterns to wash away the blood. It’s possible this was retained in Herod’s version. Behind the altar sat the large laver resting on twelve bronze bulls, where the priests washed, and then yet another staircase leading to an embroidered curtain which hid away the temple. The temple was situated such that a priest burning a heifer on the top of the Mount of Olives could look over the short eastern wall, down the line past the Beautiful Gate and the Gate of Nicanor, and onto the entrance to the Holy Place.
The temple itself was set up similarly to the tabernacle of Moses. Beyond the first veil was the Hall which contained the Golden Altar for the incense offering, the Golden Table for the showbread, and the Golden Lampstand. It was this lampstand, the seven-armed menorah, which was said to have stayed lit during the eight-day rededication of the temple during the Maccabean Revolt in the second century BC, despite having only one day’s worth of oil. Only priests could enter this area, and only the high priest, once a year, could go beyond the final veil to the Holy of Holies. Because the Ark of the Covenant had been lost years before, the room had no furnishings, although it is possible a stone held the place of the ark. It was this veil, into the Holy of Holies, which tore from the top down when Jesus was crucified (Matthew 27:51). Around the Holy of Holies, to the south, west, and north were three stories of interconnected rooms. Openings from the upper story allowed workers to be lowered down and make repairs to the structure of the room without touching the ground.
The Romans were generally content to provide services and political stability to those they ruled in return for relative peace. The kings and governors they placed over Israel knew this, but in their greed and cultural unawareness (or apathy), they managed to frequently insult the Jews. Several times the local Roman authorities quelled riots and protests with massacres. After a long, destructive civil war between the Jewish Zealots and the Roman authorities, four legions, led by Titus the Roman general, besieged Jerusalem and burned down the temple in AD 70. As the temple burned, the gold and silver ornamentation melted and seeped between the cracks in the stones. In their zeal for a stipend, the Roman soldiers took the temple apart, stone by stone, fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24:1–3.
*This resource an excerpt from What was Herod’s temple / the third temple? by GotQuestions.org