In recent texts we saw Jesus choose His first disciples and

perform His first miracle.  In this text we see His first

cleansing of the temple.  It is striking that at the beginning of

His ministry He would cleanse the temple and then at the close of

His ministry He would do it again.  It seems as if He was trying

to tell those Jewish leaders something.  I trust that we will

allow Him to tell us something through this text.


I.  A stop at Capernaum


    In our text last Sunday Jesus was at Cana of Galilee

attending a wedding feast.  In our text today He travels to

Capernaum before going on to Jerusalem.  V. 12, "After this he

went down to Capernaum..."  Capernaum was a commercial fishing

center on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee.  This city

would become His headquarters during His ministry.  It is

interesting to note that He would make a fishing center His

headquarters while He and His disciple fish for men.

    (V. 12), "...he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his

disciples..."  For some reason Jesus brought His family with Him

to Capernaum.  He brought His mother and His brothers.  Someone

has suggested that He wanted to set His mother's mind at ease by

showing her the place that would serve as His headquarters.

    You will note that again the mother of Jesus is mention

whereas Joseph is not mentioned.  This strengthens the idea that

Joseph was already dead.

    You will also note that His brothers were with Him in this

brief stay in Capernaum.  They would not stay with Him long as

they were not believers at this time.

    Verse 12 also says that His disciples were with Him.  In all

likelihood, all twelve of the disciples who would become apostles

were with Him by this time.

    (V. 12), "...and they continued there not many days."  They

did not stay at Capernaum long.  One reason was that the time for

the observance of the Jewish Passover was near at hand and they

would all travel together to Jerusalem to observe the Passover.


II.  Going on to Jerusalem and entering the temple


    V. 13, "And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up

to Jerusalem."  I think you understand that even though only

Jesus is mentioned in this verse as going to Jerusalem, all of

them went together as a group to Jerusalem.  All able bodied men

were required to go.  The women were not required to go, but many

of them always went.  Since Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was with

them at Capernaum, it is likely that she also went with them to


    V. 14, "And found in the temple those that sold oxen and

sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting."  Jesus was

not surprised by what He found.  He had been attending the

Passover celebrations annually since He was 12 years old.  As

they entered the temple they came into the Court of the Gentiles.

This was where the animals and the money tables were located.

The bullock, the sheep and the doves were there as a convenience

to the people who came from a distance.  They could buy bullock

and sheep for sacrifice.  The poor, who could not afford to buy

bullock and sheep, could buy doves.  Many of the lambs would be

used to prepare the Passover meal.  Each family group would have

a lamb.

    The money tables were there so that the people who came from

foreign countries and had foreign coins could purchase Hebrew

coins which were required for paying the temple tax.

    From the commercial point of view, it was a great market

place, but it was not a good place to worship.  The continuous

movement and noise of both people and animals made it next to

impossible to keep your mind on worship.  Movement and noise

distracts.  Then, also, there was the stench.  It was virtually a

stock-yard with all of the terrible odor of a stock-yard.  It was

not at all conducive to worship, especially at the Passover

celebration because the noise and movement was greater than ever.

    The reaction of Jesus to all this must have caught everybody

by surprise -- even His disciples.  Jesus is generally noted as

being a mild-mannered man and that is just exactly what He had

been at the marriage feast in Cana.  However, when He walked into

those temple grounds He became a man of action.

    V. 15, "And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he

drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen;

and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables."

Jesus grabbed some rope that was there for the purpose of tieing

around the neck of each animal when it sold and made a whip out

of that rope.  He then used that rope to drive out the sheep, the

oxen and the salesmen.  He drove them all out.  Then He threw the

money from the tables in every direction, the tables and drove

the money changers out of the temple.

    V. 16, "And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things

hence..."  The doves could not be driven out with the whip.  They

were in small baskets with lids.  Whenever someone would buy a

dove, he would get the dove in a basket so that he could take to

the priest at the brazen altar.  Jesus commanded those who sold

the doves, "Get those birds out of here!"  They did.  They dared

not do otherwise.  They started grabbing up baskets and hurried

out of the temple.

    But I want you to take special notice of what Jesus said to

them.  (V. 16), "...make not my Father's house an house of

merchandise."  John the Baptist had declared Jesus to be the Son

of God.  He said, "I saw and bare record that this is the Son of

God."  Jesus, likewise, declared that He is the Son of God.  He

said, "This is my Father's house.  Or to put it another way, He

said, God, the Father in Heaven, is my Father and I am His Son."

    V. 17, "And his disciples remembered that it was written, The

zeal of thine house hath eaten me up."  The disciples saw all of

this take place and they were reminded of a verse of Scripture.

That Scripture is Psalm 69:9.  It said, "The zeal of thine house

hath eaten me up."

    What is this Scripture saying?  It says that God's people,

the people of Israel have a zeal of God.  That is most certainly

evident at this scene.  Thousands upon thousands of people had

come from all over the nation and from the surrounding nations to

Jerusalem to the Passover celebration.  Thousands of animals

would be sacrificed at the brazen altar and thousands of lambs

would be eaten in the Passover meal.  A pile of money would be

added to the temple treasurer.  They, indeed had a zeal for God.

    But their zeal was not used for God.  Rather it was used

against God.  Their zeal did not please God.  Rather it angered

God.  It ate Him up.  It angered the Son of God on earth and it

angered God the Father in heaven.


IV.  The demand of a sign by the Jewish leaders


    V. 18, "Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign

showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?"  The

Jewish leaders wanted to know by what authority Jesus was doing

these things?  By what authority did He disrupt the things they

had arranged and by what authority did He take over the affairs

of the temple?

    That sounds like a reasonable question at first.  Doesn't it?

It is not!  It is not at all!  God had already given them a sign

and John the Baptist had told them about it.  God had told John

the Baptist that the man upon he would see the Holy Spirit coming

down in the form of a dove, that man is the Christ.  He is the

Son of God.  John the Baptist had already announced to the people

of Israel, "I saw and I bare record that this is the Son of God."

They did not see the sign, but John did and John had told them

about the sign.  They just did not believe the sign that God



V.  The sign which Jesus promised


    Jesus would not give them another sign -- at least not

immediately.  But He did promise them a sign that they would see

in the near future.  V. 19, "Jesus answered and said unto them,

Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."  What

Jesus actually did was to speak to them a riddle.  For right now,

they would not understand its meaning.

    The Jews responded in keeping with what they thought He was

talking about.  V. 20, "Then said the Jews, Forty and six years

was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three

days?"  They thought He was crazy.  How could He possibly rebuild

a temple in three days that had taken 46 years to build?

    V. 21, "But he spake of the temple of his body."  Jesus was

not talking about the temple in which the Jews worshipped and at

which they made their sacrifices.  He was talking about the

temple of His body.  They would kill His body and in three days

He would raise it up again.  He would come back from the dead.

They thought He was crazy because they thought He was talking

about raise the temple building up in three days.  If they had

understood what He was really talking about, they would have

really thought He was crazy!

    The point is that they wanted a sign showing that He had

heaven's authority to do what He was doing in the temple.  The

already had a sign.  The Holy Spirit had come down in the form of

a dove and John the Baptist saw and bare record that Jesus is the

Son of God.  They had refused to believe that sign and they would

not be given another sign for three years.  Three years from this

time He would cleans the temple again and they would again demand

a sign.  It would be at that time that the promised sign would be

given.  They would destroy the temple of His body.  They would

crucify Him and after three days He would come forth from the


    Even then they would reject that sign and continue to reject

Him as the Christ.

    V. 22, "When therefore he was risen from the dead, his

disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they

believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said."  Even

the disciples did not understand the riddle at this time.  It

would not be until after His resurrection from the dead that they

would understand.


VI.  The scene at the temple


    Let me direct your attention back to the scene at the temple.

Before Jesus arrived business was booming.  The sale of animals

was going strong and the lots of Hebrew coins were being sold at

a nice prophet.  The temple officials were going make a pile of


    Then Jesus arrived on the scene and pandemonium broke loose.

Jesus was angry.  He was very angry.  He was angry at their sin.

They had a great show of religion, but without repentance of

their sin and without acceptance of Him as the Son of God.  God

the Father in Heaven was angry and God the Son on earth was

angry.  He unleashed His angry upon them with the whip that He

had made out of ropes and with the angry outbursts which He spoke

to them.