Who’s In Charge Here?
The question of authority comes up again and again — why is that?
Alright. Thank you very much. And hello again, my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Yes, that greeting establishes the fact that this is your friend Bob Cook. And I’m glad to be back with you to share from God’s word. You and I are going through the book of John, just now. And we’re in the second chapter. I’m gonna start with verse 13, today. Where our Lord Jesus is found in the temple at passover time. Now the city was crowded obviously. And part of the observance of the passover is the passover sacrifice. And so there was provision for those who were more or less affluent to sacrifice an ox, others sacrificed a sheep or a lamb, and the very poor people would sacrifice a dove. All of this as a foreshadowing. As those of you who study your bible know, a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Christ our passover sacrificed for us,” said Paul. John the Baptist, in proclaiming the coming of Christ said, “Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
When you look at the ancient Hebrew sacrifices, which continued right straight on through the days of the Herod’s Temple, in which our Lord Jesus, in his earthly ministry lived. You look at all those sacrifices and say, what a gory business. Just remember the Bible says without the shedding of blood is no remission. It’s the life. “The life,” says the Bible, “Is in the blood.” And the shedding of blood in those sacrifices typified the giving of a life. An innocent life, given for another. All of it as I say, picturing foreshadowing, the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. So that we read in Romans 5, “God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God hath made Him to be sin for us, He who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Isaiah the ancient Prophet said, “He was wounded for our transgression. He was bruised for our inequities. The chastisement of our peace was on Him. And with His stripes we are healed.” Prophetic utterance, on the part of Isaiah, portraying so accurately what the Lord Jesus Christ would do for us, in His passion on calvary. You follow that, I’m sure, all of you.
And so that is the setting into which our Lord Jesus Christ is coming now, and it says, “The passover was at hand and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the Temple.” You know that was a magnificent Temple, Herod’s Temple. It was 46 years in building, they say, a little later on in the passage here. It took 46 years to build it. And it was covered with gold. A magnificent structure. Alright, there He was in the Temple and He found in the Temple those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the changes of money sitting. Now, you find Him driving them all out. It says, “When He had made a scourge of small cords,” that’d be something like our window sash cord. A small strong rope, thin but strong. “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 changer’s money, and overthrew the tables,” and said unto them that sold doves, “Take these things hence.” Interesting, He didn’t throw them out, He said, take them out.
The dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. And even in that traumatic moment, our Lord Jesus was quite aware of what He was doing in relationship to the dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. Says, “Take them out. Make not my Father’s House, a House of merchandise.” Now, look at Him here, this place is crowded with people, and you have, in the very Holy area, you have animals, you have oxen, and sheep, and doves, and money changers, because people came from all over, you understand, to Jerusalem. So they had different coinage, different money. They had to exchange it. Just as you do today when you go from one country to another, you have to go to the money exchange and get the coinage, the money of that country into which you’re entering. So there they were. Now, they didn’t have any business there because it was the Holy House of God. No business at all there. And so He drives them out. I’m interested in the fact that one man would do all of this. It said He drove the men all out of the Temple, people first, then the animals, sheep and oxen, He poured out the changer’s money, overthrew the tables. What a tremendous display of holy anger and awesome power.
I’m trying to think of anything that could parallel it today. I suppose, you go into a flea market, and you’ve got all sorts of merchandise, and people have it on tables, and the crowd is standing around. Now what are you gonna do if you wanna clear the place? What our Lord did was, He got the people out, He got the animals out, and He turned the tables over. I’m sure that upset the money changers, because they were scrambling for their money as the coins rolled across that marble floor. You could just see them, a ridiculous sight, down on hands and knees scrambling for their money. It all happened so quickly, that they didn’t really realize all that was happening. Another version of this same event said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” That’s what He said, as recorded by another Gospel writer. And His disciples remembered that it was written, “The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up.”
Interesting to me that the disciples were beginning to equate the ministry of our Lord Jesus with the ancient Messianic prophecies. You see, because it says, “His disciples believed on Him,” verse 11. “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee manifested forth His glory, and His disciples believed on Him.” What does that mean? They believed that He was indeed the Messiah. And so, if they believed that He was the Messiah, they would relate what He said and did to prophecies about the Messiah. The only thing is, they missed the prophecies that had to do with His suffering and dying for sin. They missed that entirely, and when He spoke of dying and rising again, it just went right by them, they never got it, until after He rose from the dead. Now we come to the question that inevitably is gonna be asked, “What right do you have to do all this? What signs showest thou unto us seeing that thou doest these things?” Now the word sign is miracle. They said, “You better do a miracle or something, to show you have a right to clean out the temple.” Small thought, they never questioned the rightness of His action in cleaning it out. They never said, “Look what you’ve done, look how you’ve spoiled our business.” They never did that, you know why? Because they knew, in their own hearts, that they had been in the wrong. They never asked, “Why did you do this?” They simply said, “What right do you have to do it?”
The question of authority comes up again and again. It comes up in the pastorate, it comes up on the mission field, comes up in the local church, and it comes up in the home. “What right do you have to give orders?” Today, there is a de-authoritization of practically every authority figure. And so it is that people scoff at the authority of high government figures and they scoff at the authority of those who are sworn to enforce the law and protect the citizen, our police force. And now, because unbelieving people have taken charge of our educational system by and large, our children are being taught to question even the commands of their parents. So this question is very much in keeping with some of our own needs, and I want you to see how the answer affects you. They said, “What right do you have to give orders, clean out the place?” And he said, “Destroy this temple, three days I’ll raise it up.” He spoke of the temple of His body. And after He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this unto them, and they believed the scripture. And the word was, “Jesus had said”. His answer in effect was, “You asked me what right I have to clean this place out, my Father’s house?” He says, “I’m a specialist in resurrection.”
Now, He’s also a specialist in forgiveness, you remember the story in Mark’s gospel where they… Four friends lowered this sick man down through the roof of the house, right into the middle of the room where the Lord Jesus was teaching. And He looked at the man and said, “Son, thy sins are forgiven,” and people started to mumble and say, “What right does he have to say that your sins are forgiven?” He said, “Well, is it easier to say your sins are forgiven or to say to this man who’s helpless, ‘Rise up and walk?’ Well, in order that you may know that I’m a specialist in forgiveness, I’ll say the other thing as well.” He said, “Rise, take up your pallet and walk.” And the man did. He’s a specialist in forgiveness, oh yes. But He’s also a specialist in resurrection. Now, how does that affect you? Paul says, “Though our outward man perish, our inward man is renewed day by day that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
“If the spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you,” says Paul, “the spirit of Him that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken,” that means make alive, “your mortal bodies.” Now, mortal means capable of dying. After you’re dead, you’re corruptible. He didn’t say “corruptible”, he said “mortal”. That is to say that the Holy Spirit of God who indwells the believer, you know when you’re saved, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in your life. He will quicken, make alive your mortal, capable of dying, mortal body. The resurrection power Paul spoke about it, “Oh, that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection”. The power of the resurrection is the presence of the Holy Spirit of God in your life. You too can be a specialist in resurrection life. We get at this the next time we get together. Father God, have your way with us and make us specialists in resurrection life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
‘Til I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing.
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