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Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

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


  • 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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