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Jesus Unfiltered - Believe
When life gets really hard, because of choices you've made, or circumstances in which you find yourself, wouldn't it be great to know you've got the source of all wisdom and strength right there with you? That's what Jesus promised you could have. That's what He longs to do for you. Knowing the real Jesus is the most important relationship you will ever have. Chip Ingram reveals, from Scripture, who Jesus really is and how you can have this relationship - beginning today and for forever!More from this series
And so, He launches His ministry for His disciples to understand that God is good and lavish and gracious and it’s not external and religious and rites and purifications and external. But the living God has come!
This is the Messiah. He has power! And His power is about life and love and joy and relationships – Jesus unfiltered.
Well, He goes down to Capernaum according to the text, stays there for a few days with His family. You’re going to find, He is going to go to Jerusalem and He is going to lay down the gauntlet and literally declare that He is the Messiah.
And then, because of all the hostility in Jerusalem, He does most of His ministry in Galilee and other places. In fact, you read Matthew, Mark, and Luke and remember the Pharisees and the religious leaders? They are always coming out to ask Him questions or to attack Him.
He only goes to Jerusalem during these feasts. Now, one of the questions is, is why is this account different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s? It’s because there were actually two times this occurred and they are very clear and they are very different. What Jesus did and we are going to see in just a minute is He goes to the feast, but you can’t have the new unless you address the status quo and the old that has been perverted and corrupted.
And so, the disciples are going to learn at the wedding, this is new life and it is about grace and joy and love. And then they are going to learn, just like those pots were external religion, so what has happened at the Temple is not a right view or heart or connection with the living God.
And so, He is going to positively say this and then He is going to lay down the gauntlet, declare, “This is My Father’s house.” We read that and think, Well, of course, you’re Jesus. They didn’t know who He was! To go there and declare, “This Temple is My Father’s house!” He is claiming to be the Messiah!
And remember what the question is. By what miraculous sign? “You’re coming in here with authority to say that this place is Yours and You are Messiah, related to Your Father. We want some proof. I want to see your I.D., buddy. Where do You get off doing this stuff?”
And He will say something that they don’t understand, religious leaders. The disciples don’t understand. But it will all come back to everyone, they will realize, because He will always bank everything then, and everything now, on the proof of this. He rises from the dead. It’s the resurrection.
So let’s go and ask a few questions of the second section. A question that I ask is: Why go to the feast in Jerusalem? Second: Why is John’s account different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s? Why does Jesus react so passionately and violently at the Temple? What are the underlying spiritual implications of this section? They are pretty heavy. How did this event shape Jesus’ relationship with the religious leaders, His disciples, and the multitudes?
Now, I’m just going to pause. I’m going to keep going in and out. What does it say? We made some observations, right? What does it mean? Interpretation. What did I do? I asked some basic questions about the passage that required some historical background that is available to you and me, some logical thinking and reasoning about, How does this all fit together? Because what we are trying to do is, I want to know exactly when John wrote this in 90 A.D. and if I was sitting in a little house church and someone opened that scroll and read it, I want to know what he meant and what they got.
Because if I don’t get clear about that, I will go off on some little dilly, devotional, emotional thing. Well, you know, I was reading and I think this and I think it means this and I think it means that. I have been to a lot of Bible studies where it’s sort of, Let us share our pool of ignorance. “What do you think it means? What do you think it means? What do you think it means? What do you think it means? I think it means wine is okay. I think it means jars should not be in the house. I think it…”
Literally! I say this reverently, I don’t care what you think it means. I want to know exactly what the Holy Spirit meant it to them through John, because until you’re clear on what it actually says and what it actually means, you’re not ready to apply it to your life. Does that make sense?
By the way, that’s how cults and all kinds of crazy stuff gets going on. People grab a portion of a passage. Every author who has written any book has a very clear purpose and authorial intent about what he wants to say. Our job is to discover what that is, then apply it to our lives.
So those are the questions in the second half. So let’s do a little interpretation. So why does He go to the Temple? He goes to the Temple because He is required to. He has been there every year since twelve years old, when He went there with His mom and dad.
Why is it different? Because Matthew, Mark, and Luke are describing when He cleared the Temple at the end of His life, at the very end of His ministry where He comes back to town and it’s what got Him killed.
He lays down the gauntlet here early in His ministry, they don’t completely get it. But the disciples, now, imagine what this is like. You’re a good Jewish boy. You follow John the Baptist. You know God is in this. John says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”
And you start following Him and you listen to Him and then He quotes these passages and He knows stuff that no one else could know, and then He says, “Follow Me,” and so you’re following Him, and then you go to a wedding. And then it’s like, Oh my lands, this is crazy! This is amazing! What do you think? This is great!
And then you go to what you have gone to since you have been a little boy and you go to this festival and you walk in and it’s like it has always been. Here’s the cows and there are the sheep and there’s the table and there’s the moneychangers. And you say, Well, why is all that there? If it was done simply for convenience, actually, there wouldn’t be a problem. Pilgrims came from all over the world. So I don’t want to, like, I’ve got a cow or I’ve got a sheep or I’ve got a goat. I don’t want to take this cow or goat fifty, sixty, eighty, one hundred miles in my pilgrimage to offer it.
So I have some money, I’m going to go and when I get there, I’m going to buy, if I’m really poor, two pigeons or two doves. If I’m a little bit more economically up, I’m able to afford a goat or a sheep or something. And I am going to buy an animal so that I can then take it and I am going to sacrifice it, because that’s what the Law says. But here is what was happening. Here is why Jesus is ticked off. Barclay, who is just a master of the research of the ancient times, a day’s wage would be about four pennies.
When you came in, you had to pay, every male, once a year, had to pay a shekel. It’s a tax, an annual tax, and the tax was six pennies. A day’s wage was four pennies.
Well, if you had a different kind of money, and you had to pay this tax, you would get your money changed. If you have traveled overseas, anybody, right? Where do you want to get your money changed? At the very nice, expensive hotel? Right? And they say, “Oh yeah, we will change your money.”
And it’s two point eight per dollar when you go to the exchange and at the hotel, they just take ten percent of whatever and you go, What? So they were charging for every shekel, one extra penny. It’s just robbery.
You could buy two pigeons or doves outside the Temple area for about four pennies. Historically, there are documents, inside the Temple area, it might cost you seventy-five pennies.
And if you were really poor and couldn’t pay, you might have to give your cloak as collateral. So, okay, here’s what I want you to get. I want you to picture this. Jesus comes in and the ministry has started. And He sees all these animals and He sees all these poor people and they are getting ripped off. I mean, ripped off by these interest rates.
And they have different kinds of money so they have to have the Temple shekel. And then He is watching these guys with the animals. And He is realizing they are getting ripped off, ripped off, ripped off, ripped off and His righteous anger explodes and He, literally, just finds what He can, Bam! And please don’t get this milquetoasted down. I bet He…”You should leave now. You should leave now.” He was a carpenter and He was a physical man and I would guess fairly athletic and the tables flipped, the coins flew, the chickens flew, and people were running.
And our God was mad. And He was mad for good reason, because what was created to be a place of worship had become nothing more than a prostitution for financial gain. Can anyone remotely think of any parallels in our day?
And so, the disciples learn, a very exciting guy to follow but as a good Jewish boy, we were in good standing with the spiritual leadership. Now Jesus and the spiritual leaders are at odds. That means we have to choose between cultural, politically correct standing, or standing with Jesus, because you can’t have it both ways.
The multitudes, after it, He does these miracles. They don’t tell us how many but He does multiple miracles. And the people believe. But it’s a belief, they believe He is a miracle worker. And it says, “Jesus doesn’t entrust,” He knows their hearts. They are believing to, “Yes, this is amazing, we get the declaration.” But they are believing on the basis of, “What can You do for me?”
And what John is going to do is walk us through a process of intellectually believing and then believing deeper, more on what you see. And then moving to the point where you are entrusting and genuinely following where He is your Savior and He is your Lord. Does that make sense? That’s what it meant then and that’s what it means now.
Now flip the page and let’s ask ourselves, What does John chapter 2 mean to you and to me? What does it mean to you and to me?
Number one: Jesus wants to do good to me. He wants to do good to me. That’s verses 1 through 5, that’s what you see. He could have started the ministry anywhere. And it was at a wedding.
Probably the second, well, I don’t want to get in trouble with all of my other kids, I have to be careful here. The greatest day in my life, apart from coming to Christ, was the day I married Theresa. The second greatest day, experientially, was probably my daughter’s wedding.
Because when your boys get married, the other family kind of, they are in charge of what happens and you get to do the rehearsal dinner. And when your daughter gets married, you get two great things. You get to pay for it, number one. But you get to say what’s going to happen.
And I am going to tell you, I just remember dancing with Annie and laughing and friends and food and walking her down the aisle and seeing her friends and our friends and it was just like, Ahhhh! This is awesome! And I had a blast! I just had a blast. It was like, Oh, God, this is so precious.
I don’t know where you are struggling in trusting Him for the future, or about a decision, or about a relationship, or about your money, or about your job, or about your kids. But let me tell you one thing, Jesus came to do good for you. He is for you. “He is a sun and a shield. He gives grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
You get that from here to here, it will change everything about how you relate to Jesus. You’ll actually want to talk to Him! You’ll want to hang out, you’ll want to do stuff with Him and for Him.
Second, Jesus came to transform my life from the inside out by a supernatural miracle, not by external religious rituals. We got that from verses 6 through 10, right? Coming to church, giving to the United Way, trying to be a good, little goody-two-shoes person, don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t do this, don’t do that – that’s not the gospel! He came to transform you from the inside out.
I grew up in a church that was like the six jars of external performance and religious activities that were devoid of a relationship with God and by God’s grace, some people who understood life and goodness explained to me the gospel of Jesus Christ and I trusted Him and He changed me from the inside out.
And I didn’t try to stop cussing. All I can tell you is I read the Bible every morning and every night. I hid it because I didn’t want my parents to think I was flipping out. But as I was reading it, something happened and my tongue changed and I kept reading it and my attitudes changed. And I kept reading it and I got around other people and joy filled my heart.
And that’s normal. That’s what God wants. It’s not about ought, should, got-to. It’s a transformation from the inside out.
Third, is I must follow Him and believe in Him to see His glory and continue His movement. He started a movement! The old things pass away; everything becomes new. That’s the transformation in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
But then my responsibility is not to, Oh, I made a decision or I prayed a prayer. I follow and believe. I follow and believe He manifests His glory. In other words, you see what He is really like. He does things in your life. It’s powerful! It’s amazing! It’s great! And you know what? It’s scary and it never ends, no matter how mature you are.
You start with baby steps and, Oh, I’m going to tell someone out loud that I am a follower of Jesus, and you do and, Oh, wow, that wasn’t so bad. And then you begin to reach out and you help someone and something happens through you and then pretty soon, you say, I’m going to believe Him for my finances and then I’m going to believe Him for my time and then for my future, and each step: follow, believe, follow, believe, mess up. Right? Because you’re human. Follow, believe, follow, believe, mess up.
And then when you mess up, it’s not like, You dirty, rotten, little, terrible follower! What is wrong with you? How? I knew you…
I don’t know where we got that, that’s just not the God of the Bible. Who is Jesus? When you really, really mess up and you run back, His arms are open, “Put on the best robe, put sandals on his feet, put a ring on his or her finger.” We’re all going to mess up, we’re all going to make mistakes. Does He take it lightly? Of course not. If we stay there long enough, there are consequences that are painful. But the pain of the consequences is so you come.
Every step of the way, every step of the way you follow and believe. When you stop following, and the reason you stop following is, what you’re saying to God is, I don’t trust You. I don’t trust You in this relationship. I don’t trust You in this business deal. I don’t trust You for my future.
So you stop, you stop believing. You stop believing, you stop growing. You stop experiencing Him. And then He will bring circumstance, circumstance, circumstance, circumstance, people, message, boom, boom. Because He loves you! He loves you, loves you, loves you. And the moment you break through, bam! This is the Christian life!
John is going to show us what it looks like to follow this Jesus in real time.
Fourth, my body is His temple and today, He demands authentic worship from me 24/7.
Jesus said about this Temple, “This is My Father’s house!” Where does God dwell now? Romans 12:1 and 2. “Offer your body as a living sacrifice.” 1 Corinthians 6, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Your body, your hands, where your eyes go, where your feet go, what captivates your heart? Your body is God’s temple!
Jesus, today, would walk in and say, “What are you doing with My Father’s body? Why are you looking at that stuff? What are you doing putting that stuff in My body? What are you doing working yourself to death and not getting enough rest? Why aren’t you enjoying Me more?” And He would clear the Temple. Why? Because He is radical. Because He is a revolutionary.
He started a movement that He has entrusted to us. What did He say? “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” The expectation for your work and your home and your neighborhood, God’s expectation is: The only hope is you. Angels aren’t showing up at your house going, “This, oh, we’re going to take care of all this.” He lives in you if you’re a follower. And so, the response is to surrender and to follow and say, “Lord, help me!” And He will!
Finally, I can trust Him in His Word because He rose from the dead. When He starts the ministry, “Hey, where do You get the authority to do all this stuff? Who do You think You are?” “Knock down this temple and I will raise it in three days.”
They thought it was the physical Temple; He meant His body. And for you and me and every believer in Jesus Christ, with every step where you’re afraid, “I’ll keep My promise, because you can trust that I am the only One who died and I paid for sin and I conquered sin and I rose from the dead. And you can bank on that. I’ll be faithful to you, I will never, ever, ever leave you or forsake you or let you down.”