3rd Sunday in Lent

3rd Sunday in Lent

March 4, 2018

John 2:13-22

“Breaking News”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The text that engages us is the assigned Gospel lesson read previously from John 2, and my apologies if this sermon seems a little, well, weird.

My Dear Friends in Christ Jesus,

“Good evening everyone and welcome to the 6:00 evening news. I’m Walterimus Cronkititimus. We have breaking news for you this night so we go right to our reporter in the streets of Jerusalem, Decievum Majorium, for this rapidly breaking news story. Decievum, are you there?”

“Yes, Walterimus I’m here. I’m standing outside the Jewish Temple here in Jerusalem where we are being told that someone has caused a huge uproar inside. Fortunately for us I have located someone close to the story and let’s see what we can find out. What is your name, sir?” “My name is, uhh, “Cheatimus” and I work here in the temple.” “Okay, and what do you do here at the temple and can you tell us what happened here today?”

“Well sir, it all started out just fine. We was a sellin’ stuff in the temple area and I was changing money with the others. You know, with Passover coming so soon and all we had our hands full! People was a comin’ from all over the place and when you come to Jerusalem you gotta have an animal to sacrifice in the temple. And nots just any old animal. Our temple animals are all checked over and only the bests. We sell them animals to the people who come to worship in the temple.” “Oh, okay, I see. Say Mr. Cheatimus, is it a problem having all those animals in the temple?” “Well, I reckon those animals were making a lot of noise in there, not to mention the smell…and the mess, I guess. Come to think of it, it was getting’ a bit ripe in there from all those critters.”

“Mr. Cheatimus, can you tell us about the activities you were involved in and what happened today in the temple?” “Yeah, I reckon I can do that. I’m a money changer, that is, people bring all their money to give to the temple but we don’t take none of it ’cause of all the various images and whatnot. Only certain kinds of money is allowed in the temple. We take all their heathen money and exchange it for temple money so people can give it right back to the temple for their offering.” “Oh, Mr. Cheatimus, do you make a profit off this practice?” “What’s it matter to you, boy? Sure, we charge an extra 4-8% to do this…guys gotta make a living, right? Anyway, there was so many people coming in for the Passover that we had to up and move operations right inside the temple itself. Things was a going just fine…until that feller showed up.”

“Mr. Cheatimus, I take it from your tone of voice that you’re referring to the breaking news story we’re covering. Can you tell us what happened?” “I sure can! We was a sellin’ and doing business as usual until this guy, some carpenter from up north, came into the temple and went loco on us! He made a whip out of rope and made everybody get out! He said stuff like, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a house of trade!” (v. 16). I don’t know what he was talkin’ about…we was just doing business. I heard later that feller’s name was “Jesus” or something like that. He sure put a crimp on my day, and during our busiest time of year, too!”

“Mr. Cheatimus, do you think he had a reason to be angry? Were you supposed to be selling animals and exchanging money in the temple? Doesn’t that kind of activity belong in a marketplace or somewhere else rather than the holy temple where it is both disruptive and disrespectful?” “I has no comment.” “Okay, that’s all from the temple for tonight. This is Decievum Majorium reporting from the streets of Jerusalem. Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.”

“Good evening everyone and welcome once again to the 6:00 evening news. I’m Walterimus Cronkititimus. We have breaking news for you tonight so we go right to our roving reporter, Decievum Majorium, for tonight’s breaking news. Decievum?”

“I’m standing here with Peter, a disciple of Jesus. What a unique 40-day period it has been! If you remember, we reported earlier that Jesus has risen from the dead and instructed Peter and his followers to now go and “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything (he) commanded” (Matthew 28:19-20). I was wondering, Mr. Peter, what insight do you have to add to this breaking news situation.”

“Well, Decievum, I gotta tell you. This has been quite a time for us. Ever since our teacher and Lord Jesus has risen from the dead we have come to realize so much about what he was talking about. We have come to the realization that he was more that just a teacher or rabbi. He was and is the Son of God, the Messiah that we have all been looking for and waiting for.”

“The Messiah…THE Messiah…is that right?”

“Yes. When Jesus cleared the temple he was doing more than just cleaning house. He was, as we have now learned, taking the first step of looking beyond the temple itself. He was showing us that if you want to come into the presence of God you don’t need the temple tax or temple sacrifices or even the temple itself. Jesus is the temple; he is the presence of God among us. He is the one that takes us to the Father. The road doesn’t go through the mess and blood of the temple; it goes through the mess and blood of the cross. The Temple is now open for all people, Jews and Gentiles alike. He has removed the stink and filth and corruption from all of us by dying and rising again for us and for our sinfulness.”

“That’s very profound, Mr. Peter. Do you have anything else to add to this story?”

“Yes, I do. The breaking news of what Jesus has done is now to be proclaimed by all those who hear the truth of his Word and have been changed by his love and mercy and grace and sacrifice. Some day people will proclaim Christ and him crucified for this world’s salvation using whatever means necessary so that as many as possible hear the Good News proclaimed and have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, the one who has become the Temple – the meeting place of God – for us and for our benefit.”

“Any means possible? Even the 6:00 news?”

Even the 6:00 news.