March 29, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by John Ko, Gracepoint Berkeley

John 2:13-17
Think about the values represented by a market.  Why was it so offensive to Jesus that they had turned the “Father’s house” into a market?  What kind of marketplace values threaten to influence the church today?
Values represented by a market:
Bottom-line – Cold à it’s about money.  How much can I get at the end.
efficient – most productive wins out.  who is the best and offers me the most for my money, time, etc… is this worth my time.  I can’t waste time on cheap things or things that won’t give me a return
cost-effective – is it worth my time, money and energy to get this or put forth my resources here.
supply-demand – if someone has a need I can benefit off of it and make a profit or get something good in return.
Quid pro quo – scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

It was so offensive to Jesus that they had turned the “father’s house” into a market b/c the temple had become something that the God the Father had never intended.  It wasn’t supposed to be a marketplace where you exchange money and goods and to find a convenient way to get your business done.  The primary purpose of the temple was to worship God.  It was about going to be atoned for sins and restoring their rel with God.  The temple was the one place Jews could go to “meet” with God and connect wit him and now it was simply a place to exchange money for goods in a convenient way so that you could get your sacrifice business done. It took the spl and relational nature out of worship.
The kind of marketplace values that threaten to influence the church today are the values of efficiency and bottom-line mentality and what can I get out of this for me.  Esp in our modern era and times I know I’m faced with the pressures and thoughts of how I can maximize my time or efforts.  And in the process of this I can be missing out on God and others.  In terms of worship we can become like consumers and just see what does this church have to offer me.  what can I get out of it.  and I’ve seen in our day people choosing this and that church because here I get good praise here and good teaching there and my small group of friends are at this other one.  We pick and choose that which we think will satisfy us.  so at a church level I see people looking at the church as a smorgasbord or an a la carte line to pick and choose what I want. I think this can be esp true in terms of how people see their rels and how they connect with others. they can see the church just as a transaction center and turn rels into people I can get something out of.  Maybe I can network or maybe my kids will meet good friends and learn good morals.  I’m not interested in God or these people but just want I can get out of this place.
And in addition to this I see how people can turn church into simply something I must get out of the way.  going to church and church activities are just things I must get done and check off.  Let me say that I’ve done my part.  It may be something we think God will give us in return if we perform the “sacrifice” or do the work of coming and serving and in the end I will get something in return. It’s this quid pro quo mentality.  God I’ve come to what you’ve asked of me and now give me what I want.

John 2:18-22
“On a historical level, Jesus is confronting the chief religious institution of his day. Implicit in his ironic closing statement is that something will be destroyed (the temple? his body?) and something again will be raised in three days. Jesus is pointing out the deficits of the institution of the temple; he is confronting its misdirection and its brokenness, and in the process (as happens throughout the Gospel) he indicates that the real activity of God, the real temple, is Jesus Christ himself. In other words, the focal point of Jewish religious affections must be replaced by someone new. And that replacement will undergo a violent and miraculous death and rebirth.”[1]
In what way is Jesus’ response to the temple paradoxical, and how is this tension resolved?
Jesus’ response to the temple is paradoxical in that he was saying he was going to destroy this temple and he was referring to both himself and actually the dead religion that was happening.  To some when he was speaking of the temple they thought this was impossible b/c it took forty years to build.  But he was speaking of more than just the temple but his own body and the dead stale religion that they had been partaking in. he was going to sacrifice himself and die on the cross and was going to be raised from the dead ultimately bringing a new world order through his death/resurrection.  He was going to reconnect man to God. He was saying that the church is broken and he himself will fix it.

In the face of dead and twisted temple religion, Jesus says: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” What message does Jesus convey here regarding the existing temple religion, about himself as the true temple, his death, and the church he will launch with his resurrection?
The message that Jesus conveys here regarding the existing temple religion about himself as the true temple, his death and the church he will launch with his resurrection is that he was going to revamp the church, destroy it and re-build it from the ground up.  he was going to start afresh.  He was not going to let stale religion exist any longer.  He was going to breathe true life into their religion through a relationship with the living God.

I think implicit is that sometimes certain things must die in order to have new life again.  He was trying to resurrect what it meant to genuinely worship God.  and he was going to do this through his own death and sacrifice and through spreading his message through his disciples and the new church that would change the world.
Jesus was going to flip the world upside down with his life – through his death and resurrection on the cross.   The cross and taking man’s sins, which they might not have understood at this point would become the crucial turning point for all of mankind and history.

Reflect on Ephesians 2:12-22 in light of this passage.  What does this passage tell us about the true temple today, and my personal role and responsibility in it? What this passage tells me about the true temple today and my personal role and responsibility in it is that the true temple is the true temple today is in the body of Christ – the church.  the true temple is not a building but it’s the people, the relationships that make up the church.  with fellow citizens of this new world – those who were brought from far away and brought near – we are building up the new temple.

My personal role and responsilbity in all of this is that each one of us is called to build up the body of Christ.  Each of us including me has been brought near to God.  he has made me a citizen and through the blood of Jesus on the cross I am now reconciled to others and to God.  and together with fellow believers I’m building up the church.  what is my role?  It’s two fold: for one as a forgiven child of God I should not have any dividing walls of hostility between me and others in the body of Christ.  We are all sinners who have been redeemed and saved.  So I should be doing my part to not allow any walls to build up.  esp as I think about our church and the many walls we have naturally because of ministry divisions or even age groups I must do my active part in building up the church.  recently I have been challenged to see how I can do more of my part to build up the church through my presence and taking in all people from every group at our church – not just those who are directly in my ministry.  it’s about loving every person that I see at our church and taking an interest in knowing them and building bridges to them.  there ought not to be any hostility as we are redeemed people. and what does it mean to build each other up in the body of Christ?  This means that we are rubbing lives together.  As I think bout what this means in the real context of living life it means we’re close in proximity and close in rels and we’re getting into each other’s lives. I need to know facts about the people around me, how they’re doing, if they’re sick, if they’re struggling, to pray with them, to help them struggle, to laugh together to cry together, to go through tough and good times together.  That is only happening as much as I’m engaging them and getting into their lives.  I think about my staff, my interns and how I need to get deeper into their lives.

And I think it’s also my role to share this message with the lost around me.  through a coworker’s passing at my work I was reminded again how the most important thing is eternal life and ensuring that I make the use of every opportunity to share the gospel with people.  in the end, it’s really about whether this person knew God and had that personal relationship with him.

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Submitted by James Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley

John 2:13-17

Think about the values represented by a market.  Why was it so offensive to Jesus that they had turned the “Father’s house” into a market?  What kind of marketplace values threaten to influence the church today?

The values represented by a market is that there is a tension between those who are selling and those who are buying.  The sellers want to get the most money for what they are selling, and those who are buying want the best price.  To compete in the market, people will flaunt their merchandise, parade it around, try to get the best reputation for the best goods or the best price.  People will shop around, looking to see how they can get the most for themselves, getting the most out of giving the least.  And if they can do that, then they “did well”.

It was offensive to Jesus that they had turned the Father’s house into a market because it was supposed to be a place where people would deal with God, communicate with God, repent over their sins, to understand their true state of spiritual poverty and humbly come before God.  It was offensive because God wanted to deal with people here, and wanted people to deal with him, but the people turned that place into a marketplace, where people are trying to get the most for themselves.  It got in the way of the relationship with God, which is the most basic definition of sin.

John 2:18-22

“On a historical level, Jesus is confronting the chief religious institution of his day. Implicit in his ironic closing statement is that something will be destroyed (the temple? his body?) and something again will be raised in three days. Jesus is pointing out the deficits of the institution of the temple; he is confronting its misdirection and its brokenness, and in the process (as happens throughout the Gospel) he indicates that the real activity of God, the real temple, is Jesus Christ himself. In other words, the focal point of Jewish religious affections must be replaced by someone new. And that replacement will undergo a violent and miraculous death and rebirth.”[1]

In what way is Jesus’ response to the temple paradoxical, and how is this tension resolved?

Jesus says that he can break down and raise up the temple in three days, and that is the miraculous sign that shows he has the authority to do what he did.  It’s paradoxical because it says that there needs to be renewal in what they believe in, and that the temple isn’t just some religious ritual thing that it has become.  The tension is resolved in his body, that as it is broken down and raised again in three days, there will need to be a renewed belief, not in something ritualistic, but in something relational… with his very self.

In the face of dead and twisted temple religion, Jesus says: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” What message does Jesus convey here regarding the existing temple religion, about himself as the true temple, his death, and the church he will launch with his resurrection?

Jesus conveys the message that the temple religion as it stood had turned relationship with God into something of a ritual, something that was just going through the motions, and the heart didn’t really matter. He said that in himself as the true temple, relationship with God could be restored as it was supposed to be, dealing with God in truth and repentance, rather than in form and in sacrifice.  His death would be the breaking down of the old and his resurrection and the church that would emerge from the freedom his resurrection would be the hope for all people.

When relationship with God is turned into ritual, then it has the potential of becoming a marketplace, where people are trying to maximize selling and buying whatever commodity is being traded.  Going through the motions and doing the things that are supposed to be for one’s own relationship with God would be traded and sold for commodities of respect, perceived opportunity, pecking order, the favor of man, marriage prospects, responsibility/position and status.  And that turns the church, the very place where people are supposed to encounter God into a marketplace just like any other the rest of the world is all too familiar with.  The church is supposed to be that sanctuary where people can put all of that down and experience Christ-followers who  love each other in a qualitatively different way than the “social marketplaces” of society.  When the church is what she is supposed to be, then people have the opportunity to encounter God.

Reflect on Ephesians 2:12-22 in light of this passage.  What does this passage tell us about the true temple today, and my personal role and responsibility in it?

Ephesians 2:12–22

12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

The true temple today is the church, the people who have crossed the line of faith, those people who have surrendered their lives to God and have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins.  We who are the body are the representation of Jesus on earth. My role is to be part of that church, part of that body, that temple so that people will see Jesus in the relationships that I have with the rest of the body.  I need to embody the values and views and mission of Jesus himself as that is the role that the church needs to play today, and so gives me direction and responsibility as an individual within the body.  I need to have the kind of close relationships with people so that the body of Christ can be built up to continue on in and fulfill that mission.

PERSONAL PRAYER

Father, I know that I need to be a part of this body and to be a part of the new hope for the world, your church.  The world is full of people spinning their wheels to find meaning and purpose and mission.  And many are looking for hope, looking for answers in this existence.  The “religious side” of so many people feel like they need or can do things to earn their way to a favorable afterlife.  But your gospel is the hope for all people who can put their market-like ways behind them and to come receive the freedom only you can provide. That is what I claim for myself, and commit to carry out in this world as part of your church. God, may I not treat the church as a marketplace, but rather be the temple where people can come experience you, encounter you, and surrender their lives over to you, and so become one with the temple to do the same for others.

 

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