12 After this He went down to Capernaum with His mother and brothers and His disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 In the temple courts He found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.
15 So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
16 To those who sold doves He said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn My Father's house into a market!"
17 His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for Your house will consume me."
“Zeal for Your house will consume me.” This is a quote from Psalm 69:9, “For zeal for Your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.”
In the NLT translation, “Passion for Your house burns within me, so those who insult You are also insulting me.”
What passion is burning within you?
Some people are passionate about football, it consumes them.
Some are passionate about food, such as durian.
Some are passionate about making money.
Some are passionate about spending money, such as shopping.
Some are passionate about rescuing stray dogs off the street, through people like them I adopted my little dog, Abby.
In and of themselves, these passions are not necessary wrong. In fact, they add colors to your life. I’m more worried about people who don’t know what their passion is. They end up sitting in front of the computer or TV all day long just passing time, actually wasting life.
But the challenge of the Word of God is this, above and beyond whatever passions you have, let your greatest love and highest commitment be towards the house of God.
“Zeal for Your house has consumed me!”
The all-consuming zeal and passion of Jesus is for the house of God. It drove Him to do the unthinkable in the temple. Can you picture Jesus using a whip to drive out the merchants from the temple? Chasing the sheep and cattle out, scattering the coins, overturning the tables, shouting, “Get these out of My Father’s house!” It looks more like the picture of a mad man, rather than the loving and gentle Shepherd of our soul!
We are not just talking about a few merchants in the temple. The Passover is one of the three annual festivals that all Jews are required to go to Jerusalem to celebrate. Bible scholars estimated that there were easily a million people during that time. The temple was the center of festivities. At least 200,000 sheep must have been slaughtered and sacrificed. So we are talking about a huge throng of people and sheep. What courage and power!
And He did it twice. First time at the beginning of His ministry, as recorded in John 2 that we read this morning. The second time at the end of His ministry, as recorded in the Synoptic Gospel.
“Zeal for Your house has consumed me!”
What have we done for the house of God?
Today, there is no more temple. But individually as a Christian and corporately as a Church, we are the temple, we are the house of God.
Matthew 16:18 “I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
There is no greater cause in life than to build the church together with our Lord Jesus Christ.
You can love your football, you can play your computer game, you can pursue your career and so forth. Just make sure, the number one thing in your life, has to be about the church of Jesus Christ.
Let me give you three reasons, why building the church is the greatest cause. Actually they are found right in the first page of our weekly bulletin: “Welcome to God’s house of healing & hope!”
Reason #1: The Church is the House of God
We are not talking about the church as a building, but the church as a family, as the household of God.
Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
God is our heavenly Father, He loves His children, He protects His family, He takes care of His church.
When you become a Christian, you belong to the church, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, you are members of the household of God.
What a privilege! What a blessing! And what an awesome responsibility that we take great care of the church, working together with Jesus, let’s build up the church as the house of God.
Reason #2: The Church is the House of Healing
Despite all our human efforts and the advancement of medical science, sickness and disease still play havoc in the lives of people today. Instead of decreasing in numbers and kinds, there are more sicknesses today, many of which are incurable or contagious. Lives and families are devastated by illnesses that cost hundreds and thousands of dollars.
But the healing power of God is not limited to physical illnesses, it includes emotional and inner healing. There is not a single hurt that He can’t heal, there is not a single wound that He can’t restore.
When Jesus was on earth, there were three main features in His ministry.
Matt 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Matt 9:35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
1. Teaching in their synagogues
2. Preaching the good news of the kingdom
3. Healing every disease and sickness
As Christ’s earthly ministry was drawing to a close, He told His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem to be crucified – to give His life as a ransom for many. He told them that after His death He would rise again. He instructed them to continue the ministry that He had begun without interruption. Just before He ascended to heaven, He commissioned His disciples to go into all the world to preach the good news with signs following.
Mark 16:15-18 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
This commission was not given to the early disciples only, but to all who believe. Thank God that after Christ ascended to heaven, the early church faithfully carried on His ministry as He had commissioned them to do. Today, the commission remains for the church, we are the house of healing to a broken world.
Reason #3: The Church is the House of Hope
The world is lost and broken. There is no institution on earth that can fix it. Schools can provide useful knowledge. Businesses can provide needed jobs. Government can provide assistance. But can any of it truly transform the human heart?
There is only one power on earth that can. It is the power of the love of Jesus Christ. The good news of that transforming love has been given to the church. That means the answer to the world’s salvation lies in the hand of the church. The church is the hope of the world.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.
The church must arise as the house of hope, preaching the gospel of Christ with clarity and conviction, with authority and anointing. The salvation of the world depends on us.
Look at the world today. Never before has the world been in a greater mess. But my heart is full of hope of optimism, because Jesus is still building His church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I can’t help but commit myself with even greater passion to working for Jesus and working with Jesus to build His church. There is no greater cause, no higher call, the church is the hope of the world!
The Lord is calling every one of us here to make a commitment. Let’s commit to building God’s house of healing and hope, here at home and in all the world!
Now perhaps you say, “I want to commit, but I don’t what to do. How do we build the church to become the house of God, the house of healing, and the house of hope?”
God has given His direction. Three areas for this year:
I. Deepen Our Discipleship
Pay attention, dig deeper in our spiritual walk with Christ. Practise the three essential spiritual disciplines:
1. Daily Devotion: read the Bible daily, read it through in one year; pray daily, at least ½ an hour.
2. Weekly Worship: Come to church! Don’t miss Sunday Services, Prayer meeting, Bible Study, Connect group.
3. Generous Giving: Go beyond the basic tithes, which is giving 10% of your income to the Lord. Give cheerfully and generously to missions, facility, Sunshine.
II. Expand Our Evangelism and Widen our Witnessing
1. Pray for the Unsaved
2. Share the love of Jesus with them
3. Invite them to church
4. Follow up on them
III. Spread Our Social Services
Everyone can participate, everyone is needed, together let’s commit to building God’s house of healing and hope in all the world!
Will it be easy? No. The devil will tell you it is impossible. You will feel the pain of sacrifices. But I assure you, the reward is far greater than the sacrifice.
Romans 12:11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.