The Power of Messiah

The Power of Messiah

Home Church Service 3/5/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

When our small group meets for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. These messages are designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed each point of the message. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points being discussed. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

“The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.”

                                                                                   John 2:18–25 (NASB95)

Our passage this morning comes right after John records the cleansing of the Temple in verses 12-17. Following the first sign performed by Jesus at the wedding in Cana, John tells us that Jesus, His mother, His brothers and His disciples all went to Capernaum for a few days. The Passover is near, so Jesus and the disciples head to Jerusalem for the Feast. This sets the stage for what is about to happen at the Temple. John tells us the Jewish Passover was near. Why does John specify the “Jewish” Passover? Aren’t all Jews the same?

As a matter of fact, they are not! Remember, when we examined the prologue to this gospel account, we learned that “those who were His own,” refers to the Judean Jews, but we lose that in the translation to English. This gospel account is written to include Samaritan Jews as well, which we will see again in chapter four. The Samaritan Jews rejected the legitimacy of the Jerusalem Temple thus, they had no reason to celebrate its cleansing or rededication. In addition, there are different Israelite calendars in use to celebrate the Passover and other Feasts. Jesus was not a Samaritan, He was Judean, thus John clarifies which Passover He celebrated.

When Jesus enters the Temple, He finds it filled with merchants buying and selling animals, a necessary function to make sacrifice during the Passover Feast. If this is a necessary function during the Passover, why is Jesus so upset? Two reasons: 1). This is the Court of the Gentiles, the only place where Gentiles are allowed to enter for worship and prayer. 2). This is an echo from the Old Testament, this time from Malachi 3:1-3:

“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.”

                                                                                   Malachi 3:1–3 (NASB95)

Expectation of the coming Messiah is at an all-time high and the religious elite of Israel miss His coming with each passing sign!

Jesus does not object to the buying and selling of animals for sacrifice, He objects to the fact that it is being done IN the Temple. Imagine a God-fearing Gentile coming to worship and pray to the God they fear, only to find the only place you are allowed to enter, filled with animals for sacrifice. The chaos would be distracting to say the least! Thus, we find the disciples remembering Psalm 69:9. With this background we can now examine this morning passage and The Power of Messiah

The Jews question the authority of Jesus to cleanse the Temple. His answer is misunderstood by the Jews, but His disciples remembered what He said and believed the Scriptures. At the Passover Feast, Jesus performed signs, showing The Power of Messiah and many believed in His name, though Jesus did not entrust Himself to them.

Like the Jews, we too question the authority of Jesus as He begins to cleanse the temple of our body. Many times, we misunderstand what Jesus is doing because we do not remember or have not read, what He said in the Scriptures. We must place our full trust in Jesus, for The Power of Messiah must be at work within us, for Jesus knows the heart of all people.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “What is the purpose of The Power of Messiah in the life of the Christ follower?”

The purpose of The Power of Messiah in the life of the Christ follower is for cleansing and in preparation of the resurrection of life.

1). The first purpose for The Power of Messiah in the life of the Christ follower is to move us from death to life.

Being moved from death to life is part of our preparation for the resurrection of life.

As we begin to examine our passage this morning, we, once again, find the Jews questioning the authority of someone – this time they question the authority of Jesus. Specifically, they ask Jesus what sign He will show as His authority to cleanse the Temple and claim to be the Messiah. How do we know this? Because Jesus claimed the Temple to be His Father’s house, thus laying claim as Messiah. Again, these Jews will miss the sign Jesus gives them. His answer is the same answer He gives them in Matthew 12:39-40:

“But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

                                                                        Matthew 12:39–40 (NASB95)

The Jews miss the sign completely. “It took 46 years to build this Temple! You will rebuild it in three days?” In their minds, Jesus has lost all credibility, but Jesus turns the tables on the Jews. Remember, this is the Passover, the Temple is crowded with people from all over, returning to Jerusalem to observe the Feast. All eyes must be on what is unfolding. The Jews authorities could not have been more devalued; without bothering to explain what He meant, Jesus denied the authority of the Jews. From the standpoint of the Jews, it was their authority alone to validate Jesus’ candidacy for Messiahship, and it was not being honored. Jesus consistently stated His miracles, and the witness of His Father were enough to establish Him as God’s Messiah. So, Jesus refused to acknowledge the Jews authority over Him, and by extension, the whole of Israel. Jesus is the One in whom God had placed such trust and authority, so for Jesus to submit to the illegitimate authority, or at least the lower-level authority, of the Judean Jews, was simply out of the question.

John flashes forward to tell us that when Jesus was raised from the dead the disciples remembered what Jesus had said, believed the Scriptures and the words Jesus had spoken. By the power of the Holy Spirit, these Scriptures were illuminated for the disciples, Jesus was right – the Jews destroyed His temple, His body, and He did raise it three days later, just as He predicted. All of this points to the fact that the Judean Jews are missing The Power of Messiah. Granted, it would take the disciples three more years to fully understand, but at least they showed signs they were beginning to get the point.

For the Christ follower, we need to look carefully at all that Jesus says in this passage, those words are the key for us today. First of all, the cleansing of the Temple is a reminder for us to keep our worship pure. Worshiping God is not always convenient, it demands true devotion and self-sacrifice. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by our achievements or circumstances. We must focus on God alone, for we are to worship sincerely, reverently and humbly. In the cleansing of the Temple, Jesus is angered by an attitude that cheapens worship.

Secondly, the only sign Jesus offered the Jews was the same sign offered in Matthew 12. Though stated in different terms, it is the same sign. The destruction of the temple – His body – and the sign of Jonah, both point to His death and resurrection. This is the hope of the Christ follower, to be moved from death to life, which is exactly what happens when we repent and believe on the name of Jesus. This is also described as moving from darkness into light.

Finally, we must be in the Word, not because I am your pastor and I am encouraging you to do so, but because this is the way we hide the Word in our hearts and minds, this allows the Holy Spirit to bring them to our mind when times get difficult. There is likely a time coming when someone will come for our Bibles. We will not have physical or electronic copies to turn to, so we must spend time now reading, meditating and studying the words of Jesus, so they are hidden where no man can take them.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Where does the temple of your body need cleansing from Jesus?

How are you refusing to acknowledge the authority of Jesus?

What are you doing to keep the words of Jesus hidden in your heart and mind?

The purpose of The Power of Messiah in the life of the Christ follower is for cleansing and in preparation of the resurrection of life.

2). The second purpose for The Power of Messiah in the life the Christ follower is to establish our complete and genuine faith in Christ.

The Christ follower must be cleansed of dependence on anyone or anything other than Christ, full trust in Christ is a must for the Christ follower.

John now tells us that Jesus is at the Passover in Jerusalem, and many have believed in Him because of the signs He has been doing. We need to remember that Passover is followed by two more feasts and continues for a total of nine days. There is the Passover, followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread which continues for seven days and concludes with the Feast of First Fruits. This gives Jesus ample time to be seen, heard, teach, and to perform signs. Because of this many people have believed in His name. These three feasts were to remind the Jewish people of how God freed them from captivity in Egypt. There is, equally, significance in these feasts for the Christ follower but we will examine that at a later date.

But there is a problem that arises here. At the end of this passage, John notes that Jesus “was not entrusting Himself to them.” The words believed and entrusting come from the same Greek root word meaning “to believe.” What we find here is an example of genuine faith and a false profession of faith. We might call this saving faith today. Saving faith is not head knowledge – it is more than a mental conviction or intellectual agreement. Saving faith is believing in Jesus – who and what He is, Lord and Savior of life. Saving faith is commitment – the commitment of your total being and life to Jesus.

There are three steps to saving faith and these three steps are clearly seen in this passage, in the disciples. The first step is seeing or hearing. A person must be willing to listen to the message of Christ – the revelation of truth. The disciples spent three years seeing the works of Jesus and hearing Him teach in synagogues, on mountainsides and in private. The second step is one mental assent. A person must agree that the message is true – that the facts of the case presented are true and so. Which must lead to the third step to be saving faith – commitment.

When the New Testament talks about faith it is talking about commitment – a personal commitment to truth. A person must hear the truth, agree that it is true and then do something about it! That person must commit and yield their life to truth. The truth becomes a part of their behavior and life. Jesus knows all people and because of this, Jesus knew that some of those who professed to believe in Him, had made false professions.  

We too must make certain we have a saving faith – a personal commitment to live a life seeking and revealing truth. When Jesus made the statement, “Destroy this temple and I will raise it in three days,” it wasn’t a riddle to throw people off the scent of truth, it was, in fact, an invitation to THINK and INQUIRE more deeply. In all things, Jesus seeks to develop within His followers a more complete and genuine faith. Remember the words Jesus spoke to Nathanael after his profession? “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?” Jesus told him there were greater things yet to see, an invitation to think and inquire more deeply!

The opposite of saving faith is deficient faith. Faith in Jesus can become deficient in two ways. First, our faith can become deficient when our motives are wrong. We should not believe in Jesus by asking what’s in it for me – what can Jesus do for me – or because of some miracle He may have done for us. We must believe in Jesus because of who He is – the Christ, Messiah and the Son of God. The second way our faith can become deficient is by thinking that trust is the arrival point rather than the departure point. Once we come to a complete and genuine faith that trusts fully in Christ Jesus, doesn’t mean we have arrived and can now relax, no! Far from it! This is the point where Christ begins to use us in His ministry. Trust leads us to obedience that goes where Jesus calls and does what Jesus instructs, without questioning why or how, but trusts Jesus for the outcome.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Where do you find yourself in the journey to saving faith?

Step 1,2 or 3?

How are you developing your life as a commitment to seeking and revealing truth?

Where do you find deficiency in your faith?

Jesus is looking for trustworthy followers – have you developed into a trustworthy follower?

The purpose of The Power of Messiah in the life of the Christ follower is for cleansing and in preparation of the resurrection of life.

Our journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Yes, time is growing short and there is still much to be done. However, we are not in this alone. By keeping our focus on Jesus and trusting Him for all we need, we can handle all the world has to throw at us. The key is becoming a trustworthy follower of Christ with no deficiencies in our faith. This can only be done through The Power of Messiah.

So, seek Jesus for cleansing. Trust Him to point out the areas in your life that need to be removed or refined. Then submit fully to His authority. If there is an area you have struggled to submit to Jesus, call on Him and He will begin the process of bringing that area under His authority. Once again, He knows you so allow Him to work in those areas you find a struggle. Cleansing and submitting to the authority of Jesus are not easy for our fallen flesh, but the blessings we find far outweigh the light and momentary suffering we may have to face.

Now is the time to get in the word! Use a guided devotional or year-long reading program or develop a list of topics to read through on your own. Whatever you choose, stick with it! Even if you miss a few days in a row, stick with it. Pick up where you left off but stick with it. We must hide the word of God in our hearts and minds to face any situation we may have to face in the coming days. God has sworn that His word would not return to Him without first accomplishing His desire. It is His desire that we carry His word with us always!

Finally, continue to seek and reveal truth. This may be the hardest point to accomplish. It seems as if everyone has their own idea of what truth is today. Jesus said two very important things about truth that we as Christ followers must cling to. In John 14:6 Jesus said, I am the Way, the truth and the Life. If we are committed to living a life of truth, then we must live our lives in truth the way Jesus has shown us. In John 17:7 Jesus prayed for His disciples, including disciples of future generations, that God would sanctify us in truth – “Your word,” Jesus said, “is truth.”

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next week: John 3:1-15

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