As we consider this text, we can note how Jesus’ cleansing power can cleanse three things:
1. Cleanses away barriers to God. John 2:12-17
a. Jesus’ first cleansing of the temple gave time for repentance. Both in this cleansing and the second one recorded in the other three Gospels, we find the timing to be "near the Passover". As the Lamb of God, Jesus' actions was intentional in both instances, since He came to fulfill every festival and prophecy made about His first coming.
b. Jesus second cleansing of temple indicated time was up (Mt 21:1-17; Mk 11:15-17; Lk 19:45-47). Jesus had presented Himself as King of Israel, only to be rejected. His indictment on the temple and the cursing of the fig tree signaled that, at least for the time being, Israel would be temporarily set aside. Other scriptures indicate that the day will come when Jesus returns to restore Israel. The Old Covenant and its way of doing things was coming to a close. The New Covenant age through Jesus Christ was getting under way. These are among the rich meanings behind Jesus' actions, as well as getting us ready for what would be His pending crucifixion.
c. The alphabetic barriers that get between us and God: Apathy, Busyness, Carelessness, Distraction. Sadly, not only were these four things present in the temple precincts of Jesus' day, but all too often we find such in our churches and individual Christian lives. Jesus is the believers holiness, righteousness and sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30).
2. Cleanses away sin. John 2:18-22
a. Jesus begins and ends His earthly ministry by pointing to His mission: the cross/resurrection.
3. Cleanses the human heart. John 2:23-25
a. Jesus knew hearts & could cleanse hearts, as only God could (1 Sam 16:7; Isaiah 1:18; Lk 16:15).
b. Jesus' words, actions and miracles combine together to provide a full profile of Him as the Son of God, God in human flesh.
1. Jesus’ cleansing away of barriers and sin makes way for a clean heart to know Him better.
2. Notice how many times Jesus predicted His death/resurrection (Mt 12:39-40; 16:21; 17:9; 20:17-19; 26:61; 27:40; Mk 8:31; 10:32-34; Lk 9:22; John 2:18-22). Take each day this week to think about what Jesus did for you on the cross.