15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple,[a] and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. John 2:15 – 22 (ESV)
The Temple was the center for worship, it was not “just another church” it was symbolic of the epicenter
for all religious worship of God in Israel. When Jesus saw the money changers, they infuriated Him
because there was profiteering going on in the Sacred Temple. The Temple was for worship and
cleansing of sin but now it had become a place that harbored sin and evil. The Temple had become the
antithesis of what it was intended to be.
Jesus angrily declares, “do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” Theologian D.A. Carson
writes, “Jesus’ complaint is not that they are guilty of sharp business practices and should therefore reform their ethical life, but that they shouldn’t be there at all.” Jesus’ response and actions could have easily incited a riot and it could have turned out bad for all. There were huge profits being made during this time and Jesus was demanding for it to stop.
The religious leaders respond in an unusual way, instead of having him arrested for this outbreak of
violence, they ask Jesus for a sign to justify his display of authority. The fact that they asked Jesus for a
sign shows they knew He was more than an ordinary person, they probably thought Jesus was a prophet or even possibly the Messiah. They were looking for Jesus to perform some supernatural sign to prove that He had the authority to drive out the money changers and salesmen.
Jesus responds, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” This was an outrageous claim.
The leaders said, “It took 46 years to build the Temple and you claim you can rebuild it in three days?” I
find it ironic that they were asking for a supernatural sign and Jesus said He would, and they were livid by
his response. Of course, destroying and rebuilding the Temple in three days could only happen
Jesus was not referring to the physical temple in Israel, as we know now. He was talking about the
spiritual Temple, the body. His body is the Temple that will be destroyed and in three days it will be fully
restored and alive once again. Jesus informs the leaders that the time of the temple was ending, and He is
now the new and true Temple. Through His death and resurrection there is no need for a Temple,
because Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the sacrificial system will no longer be necessary.
1 Carson, D.A. (1991) The Gospel According to John p. 179 Grand Rapids, MI: William B Eerdman’s Publishing Co.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers[a] and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. John 2:12- 14 (ESV)
Rarely do we talk much about Jesus’ anger. His anger was not the kind of anger you and I are used to. It
was not an unrighteousness anger, it was the kind that was in response to sin and unrighteousness, it is
often referred to as righteous anger. In this passage the Apostle John gives us a firsthand account of
Jesus’ outrage and intolerance for sins that were being openly practiced in the Temple of God. This
characteristic of Jesus is one that we seldom see, but when we do we should understand why Jesus’
response was the way it was.
We live in a culture that pushes and promotes tolerance and acceptance of everything including flagrant
sins. Unfortunately, even many Churches and denominations have become tolerant of sin and
unrighteousness. God is intolerant and unaccepting of sin in our lives and in the body of Christ. Yes, His
attitude of love, grace and compassion toward the sinner never changes, this does not mean that he will
tolerate willful sin. Our attitudes about sin in our own personal lives and in the Church, should be the
same. We should always accept and love the sinner, but we should never accept and tolerate the sin.
Today’s reading picks up after the wedding ceremony Jesus, his family and disciples attended in
Capernum. Passover was approaching so it was probably late March or early April. They had to make
about a 120-mile journey from Capernum to Jerusalem where they would celebrate Passover. Passover
was the Jewish Festival celebration that commemorates the Angel of Death passing over the door of the Israelite's home during the final plague in Egypt.
Upon entering the Temple (the outer courts) Jesus saw people selling livestock for Temple sacrifices for
profit. You can imagine there were a lot people at the temple because Passover was a major celebration.
The traffic in and out of the temple would have been heavy since people would travel great distances to
offer up sacrifices and pay temple taxes. Since many made this journey people chose to buy their animals at the Temple courts instead of dragging along cattle, sheep or doves. It was much more convenient to buy locally and it would certainly be less work.
There were money changers in the outer court who converted money to the approved currency. Since
people came from all over the place there were different currencies. The money changers would charge a percentage or service charge for converting the currency. The common currency of the Roman denarii
and Attic drachmas we unacceptable because of the imperial Roman portraits were on the currency (the
Jews considered the imperial portraits idolatrous). The money changers exchanged these coins for legal
Tyrian coinage at a small profit.
 Exodus 12
 Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?”5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:1-8 (ESV)
We don’t know a lot about Nicodemus because there isn’t much written about him. We do know he was a
respected member of the Sanhedrin and he comes to Jesus at night to dialog with Him.
Some believe he comes to Jesus at night because as a respected Jewish leader he didn’t want others to
know he was going to Him to learn or maybe even associate with Jesus. It was still early in Jesus’
ministry, so He hadn’t made enough enemies among the Jewish leaders. Others believe he may have
come to Jesus at night because Rabbi’s and teachers often studied in the evenings. Some have suggested
the night was symbolic of his spiritual state. They say he may have come to Jesus at night because he was
living in spiritual darkness and wanted to inquire of the light Jesus.
Before Nicodemus can even ask a question, Jesus says, “Unless a person is born again he cannot see the
Kingdom of God.” We can only wonder why Jesus started the conversation this way. There are two
phrases we need to look at to get a grasp on what Jesus is saying…
The Kingdom of God:
This phrase only exists in the New Testament but the Old Testament points to the idea, reality and the
coming Kingdom of God. In the OT the implication of the Kingdom of God was a future day when God
is the sovereign ruler of all nations and over all of creation. The prophets longed for this day, they
anticipated the day when God would physically bring peace to the nations of Israel and Judah and justice,
peace and mercy would spill over to all nations and over all of creation.
The only way one can see or enter the Kingdom is to be born again. This term is just as confusing today
as it was to Nicodemus back then. The question “How can one be born a second time? One certainly
cannot enter the womb (as a grown adult) and be reborn!” is a question we all could ask. Nicodemus
could not comprehend how a person who has lived a full life according the laws and Jewish scriptures
would not go to heaven. He couldn’t understand how one could unlearn and accept this new way (rebirth,
transformation of the heart) of entering the Kingdom. To him, it was nearly impossible to give up all he
was trained for and taught in a lifetime and re-learn the “new” way into the Kingdom.
Jesus informs him that being “born again” was not about keeping, enforcing and living the law; it was
about being re-born (or as the Greek states, “Born from above). Rebirth means being born of God, it
means to be transformed, receiving new hearts and people becoming a new creation.
The point of this passage is the only way one can be part of the Kingdom of God is that he/she must be
born again. One must be transformed, receiving a new heart and becoming a new creation in Christ, not
just a better version of your old self. This is the central message of Jesus Christ and it is available to all of
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved-- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:1 -10 (ESV)
We are called by God because He first loved us. Our response to Him is based upon being convicted of
sin by the Holy Spirit that leads to the realization that we are sinful, and in desperate need of a Savior. God
has called us to receive His gift of grace through Jesus Christ, but unfortunately not all do respond to Him.
Salvation is a gift from God through grace. The definition of grace in the Christian tradition is the
unmerited favor of God shown to sinful humanity. We are called to be His children through faith. The
definition of faith is the uncompromising belief that Jesus is Lord of all and we respond to Him by trusting
Him. Salvation is not based upon our works, if it were then there would be room to boast in our
righteousness, thus taking away the glory of God and our response to Him and others would be prideful
arrogance. If we were saved by works, then the cross of Jesus Christ would have been for no reason. This
does not, however, mean works are unimportant; we are expected to do good works. The Bible tells us
good works are the fruit or evidence of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Thus, only by grace through faith
in Jesus Christ can we be in a right relationship with Him.
Ephesians 2:4,5 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…” God’s grace, love and
mercy is so great that He has given us life instead of death. Through Jesus Christ we have new life, we
are fully alive, and thriving because the Spirit of God dwells in each of us. The old ways; the sinful, dark,
and ungodly ways are gone, and we do not live in bondage to sin. We are now alive in Jesus Christ, we
are victorious over sin, and we are thriving in the Kingdom of God by sharing the Good News of Jesus
Christ and His Kingdom.
Life will try and beat you down, but take comfort in the knowledge that nothing that comes your way can
defeat you or hold you down because Jesus has defeated death and sin and given you victory in life.
7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]] John 8:7 - 11 (ESV)
Jesus’ reply to the accusers is classic. He doesn’t speak, he doesn’t retort, he simply squats down and
starts writing in the sand. What did he write? There are a lot of speculations, but the truth is we have no
idea. Some speculate that he was imitating the Roman practice of the magistrates who would write their
sentence down, others say he was making a reference to the law, and some have said Jesus was just
doodling to gather some time. Again, we don’t know.
When Jesus does speak, he answers the question in a way they were not expecting. He says, “He who is
without sin, let him cast the first stone.” He knows all of them were far from perfection and there was no
way any of them could pick up the first stone. According to Leviticus 24:14 the witnesses of the crime
were the ones who are to stone the sinner, and they could not be participants in the sinful act. It is not too
far out of the question to suggest that maybe the reason they couldn’t cast the first stone was because they
were the ones guilty of committing this sin. Maybe one of them was the one she was caught with? We’ll
Once again Jesus stoops down and writes in the sand and as he does each accuser turns and walks away,
starting with the oldest. I can imagine their faces burning hot with anger and frustration as their plan
Jesus asks the woman, “Where are those who condemn you?” You can almost hear the authoritative
compassion and mercy as he speaks to the woman. He was the only one who could have cast the first
stone, but he does not.
Some have suggested that Jesus is being apathetic towards sin, that he was taking it easy on the woman. I
firmly believe Jesus responds with compassion because he saw the regret, repentance and fear in the
woman’s eyes as she faced potential death. She was humiliated in front of many people; her life was
ruined because she would now and forever be known as the adulterer. Her chances of being shunned from
her family and community were very likely.
Jesus’ response is beautiful, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” He takes sin
seriously, but he also takes forgiveness seriously. He gives the woman a second chance at true life, just
like he gives you and me a second chance at life because of the cross of Calvary.
53 [[They went each to his own house, 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 7:53 - 8:7 (ESV)
In today’s passage we read about Jesus’ response to a woman who was brought before Him to be judged
because she was caught in the act of adultery. We learn from Jesus how we should respond, judge and
treat others whose sins have been exposed for all to see.
Some Bibles have a set of double brackets, a line or an asterisk that says something like “The earliest
manuscripts do not contain 7:53 to 8:11”. It is pretty much accepted among Bible scholars across the
board that this passage is not in the original and earliest texts of John. However, it is found in a small
number of Medieval Greek manuscripts. There are some accounts from extra biblical sources as well that
contain related stories of a woman caught in adultery that were recorded during Jesus’ ministry, but this
story was not part of the original Gospel of John.
Even though it is not in the earliest manuscripts, it is widely accepted as authentic, and apostolic. (1)
Regardless, it is in the Bible we read today and should be considered an important lesson for the reader.
Jesus was in the Temple teaching and the Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who was caught in
adultery before Him and all who were at the Temple. It is probable that the men brought the woman to
Jesus not so much to punish the woman for her sin but as a test to Jesus and put him in a tough spot.
I have always wondered where the man was in this story. Theologian D.A. Carson writes, “Adultery is
not a sin one commits in splendid isolation: One wonders why the man is not brought with her. Either he
was fleeter of foot than she, and escaped, leaving her to face hostile accusers on her own; or the accusers
themselves were sufficiently chauvinistic to focus exclusively on this woman.” (2)
According to the Law of Moses the act of adultery was punishable by death (Deut. 22:22- 24 & Lev.
20:10). Since Israel was under Roman rule the practice of stoning was not customary at this time. I
believe that the men brought the woman to Jesus to question his loyalty. If Jesus said let the woman go,
he would have been considered a friend of Rome. If he said to have her stoned, he would have been
considered a rebel to Rome and turned in to the authorities.
The main points of this passage are forgiveness, humility, and compassion. It is interesting to see how
Jesus response to sinners. He was tough on the Jewish leaders because they knew better, and they were
seeking to control people with their authority. However, the common sinners that Jesus encounters in the
Gospels may have known better, but they often responded in repentance that is required for forgiveness of
(1) This means it was either witnessed by one of the Apostles or it was recorded by one who interviewed
someone who was an eyewitness.
(2) Carson, D.A. (1991) The Gospel According to John p. 335 Grand Rapids, MI: William B Eerdman’s
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