Study Four: A New Temple – Christ, our access to God
Read John 2:12-24
It is interesting to see John mentioning the Jewish festivals with regularity. He mentioned at least three Passovers, as well as other festivals. The Passover was one of the three major festivals which had to be celebrated in Jerusalem, the temple and the sacrifices being at the centre.
The festival of Passover was celebrated on the 14th day of the lunar month Nisan (full moon at the end of March or beginning of April). We still calculate the time of Passover the same way.
The cattle, sheep and doves were used in the sacrificial worship of the temple. Especially for worshippers coming from a distance, it was a convenience and a service to be able to purchase them on site instead of having to bring them from afar.
People from all over the Roman Empire gathered to Jerusalem for the high festivals, bringing many different coins with them. Every Jewish male of twenty years of age or over, had to pay temple tax paid Tyre coins because of the quality of the silver. The money-changers converted money to the approved currency, charging a percentage for their service.
1. The temple was divided into three sections. Can you name them?
2. Where do you think were the money changers and those selling the animals gathered?
3. What atmosphere did the selling of animals and the exchange of money create in and around the temple?
4. Read Psalm 27:4, 29:2, 96:9. What do these verses teach about the worship of God?
Everything happening on the way to the worship of God was distracting from the actual worship. The buying of the animals and the exchanging of the money almost seem to have become worship in itself, and focus on the holiness of God and his requirement for contrite hearts were lost.
Jesus’ cleansing of the temple testifies to his concern for pure worship, a right relationship with God at the place supremely designated to serve as the focal point of the relationship between God and man. (Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 180). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.)
5. Is is just possible the the corporate worship of Christians can be disrupted by things which are not central to enjoying the blessing of being together in the presence of the Lord? Discuss.
6. Read John 2:15. How did Jesus look at these practices? What do you think was the response of the people?
7. Read Psalm 69:7-9. How are these verse a description of the life of our Lord?
8. Read John 2:16 and 2:18. What is the connecting point which lied behind the anger of Christ?
Now we get to the heart of this paragraph.
9. Read John 2:18. What does the reaction of “the Jews” (the religious leaders) reveal about themselves? Think of two possibilities.
10. Read John 2:19. The Jews asked for miracle to prove Christ’s authority. How do you understand the reply of our Lord?
11. Read John 2:21-22. What did Christ really mean? Why did the disciples understand it only after the resurrection of Jesus?
12. There’s a very important statement towards the end of this verse. What is it? (Keep in mind the purpose John had when he wrote the gospel [John 20:30-31])
The title of today’s Bible study is “A New Temple – Christ, our access to God”.
13. In what way did Christ “destroy” the temple? Read John 1:14.
14. Many people believed in his name. However verses 24-25 makes an crucial statement about Christ. What is it? ( Read John 1:12)
- When Jesus was crucified his body became the ‘temple’ and ultimate sacrifice; after three days, Jesus Christ, the true temple, would rise from the dead.
- Jesus cleansed the temple but He also replaced it, fulfilling its purposes