Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

January 21, 2018

 

John 2:13-25

 

Let us pray.  J says, “For just this hour, follow me.  Listen to my word.  Think about your life as my disciple.  Pray, sing, & follow me.”  Amen.

 

Priest @ the Vatican

 

Before he can leave, a group of Cardinals ask: What right do you have to behave like this?

  • The priest answers: We don’t need a Pope or candles or anything else; someday soon you will see.

 

Now this story is not an exact parallel w/ our Gospel.  No other story can do justice to what J did; the event is that unique.

 

The Temple was the heart of Judaism – worship & music, politics & society, national celebration & mourning.

  • There were more animals (dead & alive) there than anywhere

  • Above all, it was the place where Yahweh lived; the focal point of the nation

 

An unknown prophet from Galilee turns everything upside down!

  • Have we lost the shock value of this scene?

 

The story is in all 4 Gospels

  • Here at the beginning; otherwise, at the end of J’s ministry

  • Regardless of when it happened, we know why the Jewish authorities had it out for J

 

Today, we need to answer:

  • Why J did what he did

  • What was wrong w/ the Temple

  • When asked for a sign, why did J answer like he did

 

Why?

  • It is Passover, & J is the Passover lamb; J is giving new meaning to Passover (liberation, freedom, rescue from slavery, salvation)

  • Buying & trading were necessary – or were they?

 

The Temple?

  • J thinks it is corrupt & under God’s judgment

  • It’s focus had been lost, from God’s presence to a marketplace

 

The sign?

  • J’s answer cryptically refers to his death & resurrection

 

J is the true temple; he is the Word made flesh, the place where the glory of God has chosen to make his dwelling.  The Jews had ancient traditions about the Temple being destroyed & rebuilt.  It had happened before, & many thought it would happen again.  Herod the Great had begun a program of rebuilding the Temple, & now, 46 years later, one of his sons was completing it.  J takes these traditions & applies them to himself.  He is the reality to which the Temple points.  His death & resurrection will be the reality to which the Passover celebration points.

 

I hope the meaning & lesson of this passage is clear to us:

  • Traditions & ceremony are great – as long as they aren’t the focus; as long as they don’t become the end to the means

  • Which means, the Church must constantly check itself to ensure that we are keeping the main thing the main thing

  • J alone brings us into right relationship w/ the Father

    • Our liberation, freedom, rescue & salvation are found in J – alone

 

 

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