In this sermon, Greg Ho examines the account of Jesus cleansing the temple in John 2:13-17 and explains how Jesus’ zeal for God’s house is an example for all God’s people to follow in their commitment to serving God and his church.
Let’s start out by playing some fill in the blank, ready? Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello and? Michaelangelo, right! Yes, they are the four most famous artists of the Renaissance, of course! What, did you guys think I was talking about someone else?
Michelangelo in particular was an Italian sculptor, painter, and architect. He lived from 1475 to 1564 when he died at a ripe old age of 88, which was quite good for the time. Michelangelo’s nickname was “the divine one” because of his seemingly unique ability to evoke divine awe from his art. His most famous arts include the Statue of David and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome and many other works. Michelangelo was and is a giant in art history, but as much as he was known as a great artist, he was known at that time at least just as much for his unbelievable work ethic. He worked so hard that he even viewed personal hygiene as largely optional. In fact, one biographer writes that Michelangelo contracted several grave illnesses during his life, almost all during periods of extreme focus on his work. Why? When he was on a project he would stop eating unless necessary, barely sleep, and he would even stop changing clothes… because he didn’t want to waste time. One time he became so ill from gout, his legs swelled up so much that he could no longer get his boots off. A surgeon had to be called to cut the boots off his legs, taking some of the flesh that had stuck to the boots with them. In fact this picture of Michelangelo was taken by his rival Raphael at the time, partly to mock him for his grungy look, and he included the boots.
Why did Michelangelo work so hard? One need look no further than an incident that happened when Michelangelo was a young student.At the time he was seeking to be apprenticed to a master sculptor. And the sculptor, no doubt accustomed to seeing young men without the requisite determination washout, he wanted to impress on young Michelangelo the effort that would be required of him to achieve success in the hyper-competitive art world. So he gazed deeply into young Michelangelo’s eyes and said, “This will cost you your life!” Without a moment’s hesitation, Michelangelo responded, “Yes, I know, but what else is life for?”
Michelangelo was a man with one singular passion, and that passion drove him to greatness. Today I want to introduce you to another person who was driven by one singular passion. Let’s find him in John 2:13-17. Please turn with me there in your Bibles. John 2:13-17,
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. And He made a whip of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” His disciples remembered that it was written: “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”
Let’s pause for a moment of prayer. Father, as we gaze upon the riches in Your word, I pray that You would open our hearts to see what You have said. Open our minds to understand it and have it come into our wills and affect our actions and our lives. I pray Lord that we would be men and women who would live Your word. And when we get to our final destination in Your courts, we would hear the words, well done good and faithful servant. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Here we find Jesus at the very beginning of his ministry, during the major Jewish holiday of Passover. Jesus’ earthly ministry spans four different Passovers. The last Passover was when Jesus went to the cross. This one was the first Passover, so quite early in Jesus’s ministry.
The Passover of course is perhaps the major holiday in Judaism commemorating the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt in the time of Moses. It was a celebration that was in fact mandated by God in the Old Testament that every male over 12 years old needed to pilgrimage into Jerusalem and bring an offering to God’s temple once a year. You see it wasn’t like today where there’s a church in East Millstone, there’s a church in Princeton, there’s a church in Manville. Back then there was only one temple. And if you were going to be obedient to God’s command to offer a sacrifice, then that’s where you had to go. That’s the only place. So then it came to be that every year during Passover, people would stream into Jerusalem from all corners of the Roman empire.
And it’s estimated that the population of Jerusalem about that time might have been a few hundred thousand people, and that would swell to more than a million during Passover time. Everybody is coming into Jerusalem, and everybody is trying to get into this temple. It would have just been pure chaos. Have you ever been shopping on Black Friday? One year I decided to brave the crowds and we’re in line outside Best Buy at 5 am and the doors opened and I’ll tell you, the crowd was insane. I was scared for my life. We had lined up but when those doors opened, people just rushed it. The crowd surged forward and it’s all you can do to not get trampled! And then inside stuff were flying everywhere, people jammed together, fighting over boxes, it was a madhouse. And it’s like for $15 off, you know. Is that really worth it? I’m never doing that again.
Now imagine that, but throw in ox, sheep, and goats in the mix and you get some sense of what this is like. And when you got there, you need to do two things. First, you need to have a burnt offering. Now your offering can be an ox, sheep, goat, or dove, depending on your income or wealth. Now you’re free to bring that with you from home, but if you’re coming from a hundred miles away, you try lugging an ox that far, and it’s just not very practical. It’s much more practical to try to buy one once you’re in the city.
And the second thing you need while you’re there, if you’re a male over 20, by Jewish Law, you need to pay your required annual temple tax. In fact, there’s record of this in the Bible in Matt 17:24. Jesus paid this tax Himself. Of course, He paid it in a rather unusual way, by plucking it out of the mouth of a fish, but that’s a sermon for another time. This tax goes towards the upkeep of the temple, and it equals about 2 days’ wages. So it’s not too bad. But the problem is the coin situation back then was really complicated. Every province had their own coinage, but the temple only would accept a certain type of coin because of the purity of the silver. So unless you’re local you’re going to have to try to change your money to the right currency. So if you’re coming into Jerusalem for Passover, you need to buy your animal and change your money.
Now let me tell you a little bit about the temple itself. The temple is split into a few different parts, but what you need to know is that there’s this large outer courtyard called the Court of the Gentiles. This is just a model, the actual temple was destroyed of course. It’s the only place in the temple that non-Jews are allowed, and even Jews who were ceremonially impure could go there to pray and seek God. Now the intention of God’s temple is for it to be a house of prayer. In Isaiah 56:7, God describes his intention for the temple:
Even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.
So in this Court of the Gentiles, you should be seeing people from all nations praying, offering sacrifices, worshipping, giving thanks to God.
But of course what’s really happening at the temple, and it seems from historical accounts that the high priest was very likely in this. When you have hundreds of thousands of people come into your city all shopping for animals and looking to exchange currency, you can make a lot of money. And they decided, you know what would be convenient is if you could buy your animal right here in the court of the gentiles, and also right here you can change your money. So every year during Passover these merchants would set up this huge operation right in the Court of the Gentiles at huge markups, whatever they can get away with. This would be their black Friday.
A few months ago I was at an amusement park with my kids and it was lunchtime so we went to get a burger and I couldn’t believe my eyes. This burger was $20! I said, $20 for a burger? I’ve never seen that before. And it wasn’t even that good. The reason they cost that much is because there’s nowhere else to go. It’s convenient since it’s right there in the park and you didn’t want to have to go outside. You can charge whatever you want because it’s a monopoly.
One year, the historian Josephus estimated that more than 250,000 lambs were sold in the temple, not counting the other animals. So how many people are in the temple at once? I want to give you a sense of scale so you have some idea. The temple mount is huge. It’s about the size of about 25 football fields. One historian estimates that the temple as a whole could fit about a capacity of 75,000 people at once, which is pretty close to the max seating capacity of a modern football stadium. So the temple is a lot bigger than what you might be thinking. Just think, you walk into this temple and all the noise, all the haggling, all the smell and bleating of animals, the sound of coins dropping into the purses of thousands of people and animals at once. In this scene is when Jesus walks in.
So think about what Jesus sees when He walks into His Father’s house. Instead of finding people praying, repenting, worshipping, what He finds is a den of thieves. Nobody was there for God. They were there to make money. All he saw as He looked around was buying, selling, haggling, people looking to make a big profit. There wasn’t even room for the Gentiles in the Court of the Gentiles because there was no room for them with all the livestock and booths for moneychangers and shoppers. And so not only were the merchants and livestock and moneychangers not worshipping God, they were taking up space and preventing others from getting in to do so.
So the text tells us that Jesus pulls out this – it’s a whip. He made it. We don’t know how long it took Him to make it. He’s probably better at knitting than I am, so maybe not too long. What I want you to understand is that we’re a bit numb to this because we’ve heard this story so many times. But what you really should be thinking is what is Jesus gonna do with that in a crowded place with tens of thousands of people and animals?
Now as an experiment, the next time one of you goes to a football game, try bringing one of these and start whipping people, and see how many people you could drive out with that before someone stops you. Let me know. I’m curious how many people you can get out. You see, our text in verses 15 to 17 is very understated and make it look like this was easy, a walk in the park. Anybody could do it. Yet consider, do you think these moneychangers might have had guards and bodyguards? Do you think there were security people and crowd control and temple police? Do you think some people might have been packing swords or deadly weapons of their own for security? There were historical reports of riots in the temple and violence happening there. So this was on people’s minds. Of course, there was! With all that money, you’d be a fool to not have protection lined up.
But the whip isn’t even a lethal weapon, just a few ropes tied together, and Jesus somehow uses that to drive all these people out. Literally, He takes the money from the money changers and dumps it on the ground. And remember it’s not just one money changer as popularly depicted in our popular plays and shows, it’s money changers in the text. Historians tell us there are rows of money changers. They’re lined up like rows of bank tellers because there’s such a crush of people that has to be processed. And Jesus, one man with a whip, is here to upset this whole hugely profitable operation.
Why would they let that happen? They wouldn’t, willingly anyways. A single random guy with a whip? See, only Jesus as the Son of God could have done this. You and I could have tried it, but we would not have been successful. I mean we have some buff guys in here, but can you take on hundreds of people who are probably armed? No, there had to be something supernatural here. Here is a miracle of God. And do you know why nobody stopped Jesus? I think it’s because these people came face to face not with a mere man, but with the fury of God Himself. I think thousands of people saw something that day that terrified them, that terrified them to their core and caused them to run for dear life. Maybe they saw something like in Rev 1:14, in which Jesus’s eyes in John’s vision are a flame of fire. Or maybe it was the irresistible authority in His voice, the same voice that caused the paralyzed to obey His order to get up and walk, the very same voice that could speak the dead to come back to life.
And what’s even more remarkable is that with all those people, no one got hurt! No records of any stampede or anyone being trampled in their haste to get out. Jesus did not wield a lethal weapon, and there was no evidence of any larger-scale riot or unrest caused here. In fact, there was a Roman peacekeeping garrison of soldiers located very close to the temple, because historically it was frequently a flashpoint for unrest. They were there ready to mobilize at any sign of unrest before things got out of control, and there wasn’t any trouble from the outside for them to respond to. It seems everybody – traders, moneychangers, animals, simply exited in an orderly fashion and they just left their money behind. It says that the animals were driven out too! This is not easy, guys. You have hundreds or thousands of animals in there. Try to get a bunch of animals to do anything, it’s really hard. But they obeyed Jesus too.
This would have represented a catastrophic loss of wealth and merchandise for these merchants. Look, none of this makes any sense. Maybe Jesus could have done this if he was carrying an assault rifle. Jesus should not have been able to do this with a whip. In fact, this is so outside of the normal working of the world that this is almost certainly miraculous. And many commentators think this is a partial fulfillment of a prophecy in Malachi 3:1-2,
“Behold, I am sending My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you are seeking, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of armies. “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 launderer’s soap.”
Now, this was not the full fulfillment of that prophecy. That’s going to happen when Jesus comes the second time. And at that time it’s not going to be so gentle. God’s patience with sinners will have finally come to an end. People are gonna get hurt. That time He will come in His full fury, and no one will stand. This was just a small taste of that.
Well, what did all this look like to His disciples who were watching from their vantage point? Look again at verse 17,
His disciples remembered that it was written: “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”
Now, this is really a remarkable verse. At various points in my Christian life, God has used this verse to jolt me out of complacency. It’s one of these verses that there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. I think when we truly understand it, it will change our lives. It can become one of these verses that give real direction to our lives. For our time remaining today, I want to try to peel back and explore with you the riches God has for us in this verse.
I want to take this in three parts. Let me give you an outline. It’s gonna be really complicated. Ready? Part 1 is zeal. Part two is for your house. Part three is will consume me. That’s the outline.
First, let’s look at zeal. Zeal is just an intense, profound passion. This word zeal is translated in Hebrews 10:27 as the word fury when the author of Hebrews talks about “the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.” Jesus was a force of nature. Something the disciples saw in Jesus’s eyes, and His demeanor spoke of a passion so profound and a zeal so palpable that they said to themselves: wow, this man has zeal.
I’d like to ask you – what are you passionate about? What do you wake up thinking about and go to sleep thinking about? I think everybody is zealous for something. Even if you’re a couch potato, you’re zealous about your own leisure and entertainment. Maybe it’s cars. Maybe it’s sports. Some of us are zealous for video games. Some of you are zealous about politics. Gotta be real careful that we’re not more zealous for politics than for God. Where do you see this passion in your life? It’s somewhere. If you can’t think of anything, ask your spouse. They’ll tell you. Ask your parents or your kids.
But what was Jesus zealous about? He was zealous for God’s house. Jesus was passionate for His Father’s house. Not the four walls, the structure of the temple. The structure was fine. The building was fine. They took great care of the building, spared no expense. No, Jesus was concerned for God’s people. He was zealous that His people would be taken care of and be provided a situation where they could worship God in spirit and truth and rightly have a relationship with GOD! Today, we call that gathering of God’s people the church. The church. That’s what He was passionate about. So then believer, how zealous are you for God’s church? Is the church the center of your life or is it just an afterthought?
Many years ago, when I went to college, a relative gave me this advice. Study hard, get good grades. Make new friends. And if you do all that and you have still have time left over at the end of the week, then go to church. But don’t let that get in the way of your studies. Don’t let that get in the way of making friends for life. And my friends, that is the opposite of Jesus’ heart. But I think that’s how many Americans today view the church. It’s somewhere to go if you don’t have anything else going on on Sunday if your kids don’t have a soccer game. If you’re not too tired after a long week’s of work, maybe you’ll pop in there for an hour. Maybe an add-on to your life, but not the center of your life.
But the church was not an afterthought to Jesus, was it? It was the very center of His zeal. So how zealous are you for your Savior’s church and His people? Could someone look at your life and then say, wow that person is zealous for God’s house. Zeal for God’s house has consumed that woman or that man.
Okay but you say, look I’m here. I’m present every week for 15, 20 years. I even have my own pew! Now of course we don’t have assigned pews but I think you all know what I mean. Some of us get kind of attached to certain seats. But this passage would have you ask yourself a slightly different question. And that’s – why are you here? Are you here passionate to serve God’s interest, or are you here to serve your own interest? You see, the moneychangers and merchants were present in God’s house too. The moneychangers may even have told themselves that they were there for a noble purpose, to enable travelers to get what they needed to worship God. But the thing is, in their heart of hearts, they were there in the name of self-interest. They were in it for themselves!
And likewise, it’s easy to tell ourselves we regular churchgoers, that we are coming to worship God. But are we really? It could be that in reality, we are coming only to get something for ourselves. Maybe to hear some new teaching to tickle our ears, or to meet some nice people. Or maybe even to serve, but for a selfish motive. Is that possible? You bet, and maybe no one would ever know except you and God.
For example, you may primarily serve to get some sense of importance for yourself, or maybe you’re in a position of leadership and that gives you a sense of power. Or you’re a project-oriented person and here you get to execute on your pet project and that gives you a sense of pride. Or maybe you enjoy being seen and applauded by men. And if we come to church with selfish motives like that, we need to ask ourselves whether Jesus would have driven us out with the moneychangers. Our focus then, even in ministry, must be centered on serving God’s church, not a self-centered thing. Or in Jesus’ words, we must come not to be served, but to serve.
I was listening to a Paul Washer youtube video lately entitled: You say I love the church. No, you idolize your ministry.” And the point he was trying to make was that even church leaders can become so enamored with their grand vision of church planting or programs or conferences that they can forget that the church isn’t about any of that. It’s about the people. In this sermon, he said, “you only love the church as much as you love its most difficult nongrowing member.” That’s how much you love the church. And I said, ouch.
So how are your interactions with your brethren in this church? When you come on Sunday in your ministry or as a ministry leader, after people interact with you, are they leaving that interaction encouraged and worshipping God? Do they say, “wow that’s someone truly zealous for God and His people, and that’s who I want to be like”? Or are you leaving a trail of discouraged people and hurt feelings as you plow through them as you serve. Because it’s about you, and it’s your way or the highway, right?
Or on the other side, as you serve with your brethren are you easily offended, quick to criticize, and ready to call it quits at the slightest provocation? If this describes you, then maybe your zeal is really for yourself and your purposes and not for God’s church. Because Ephesians 4:16 tells us that the way God builds is by causing the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. If you’re not serving and leading with love, then you’re not doing it in God’s way. See, Jesus’ focus and zeal have always been on love and love of His people. We can’t lose sight of that. That’s what we need to be about as well. Zeal for your house will consume me.
Finally, we come to our last point, the last phrase of this quote – will consume me. We’ve been taking this to mean that Jesus’ passion and fury so consumed Him that it oozed out of Him with a burning passion. That’s most likely what the Apostles were thinking in this context as well, but there’s more here than meets the eye. The original Scripture that the disciples were reminded of was in Psalm 69. Let’s turn there briefly. Notice that this is a psalm of King David, and he is writing it at a time when he is being persecuted and mocked by evil men for his faithfulness to God. That’s the context. Let’s read from verse 7,
Because for Your sake, I have borne reproach; Dishonor has covered my face. I have become estranged from my brothers and an alien to my mother’s sons. For zeal for Your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me. When I wept in my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. Those who sit in the gate talk about me, and I am the song of the drunkards.
Now I want you to notice two things. First that in this psalm in verse 9, the context of the word consume isn’t to be filled with passion and emotion. It’s actually being consumed in another sense – to be utterly used up and exhausted, like firewood that would be consumed by fire until there’s nothing left but ash. David is saying that his faithfulness to God and indeed zeal for God’s right worship in His house has caused him to pay the price, and now he’s consumed and all used up, exhausted, and tossed aside. And now he’s weeping, a byword – that means to be mocked. A song of drunkards means that they actually wrote derogatory and crass drinking songs with him as the butt of their jokes. His family has disowned him and dishonor covers his’s face. that’s the sense in which he’s consumed. That’s a very different use of the word than what we said so far in John, isn’t it?
The second thing to notice is the tense of the verse. In Psalm 69 is it past or future tense, the word consume? The past tense. Now flip back to John – is it past or future? Future. See, when David penned this, to him this verse was pointing to his past – he was consumed by this situation where he was being persecuted. But in our passage in John, it’s referring to Jesus’ future. Well, what is it talking about? You guessed it. In a few years’ time, Jesus would indeed be consumed on the cross. It’s a prophecy. It would happen during another Passover when Jesus would be offered up as the once and for all Passover lamb, the only Passover lamb that ever truly satisfied God’s wrath for sinners. There the Scriptures told us that Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God. That is, Jesus took the penalty of our sins upon Himself, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. He did that for you! He did that for His church! See it was Jesus’s zeal for His Father’s house, even for you, Calvary, that caused Him to be consumed on your behalf on the cross.
And what’s more, Jesus did it willingly. But it’s only because Jesus was willing to allow Himself to be consumed that the church could be built at all. As the scriptures say, “The stone that the builder rejected has become the cornerstone” — the cornerstone of what? The church is under construction! That whole thing is a construction analogy and the first block, the cornerstone, was produced from Jesus’s sacrifice. And what then? The apostles came along and they allowed themselves to be consumed, their entire lives for the gospel. It’s well documented that they also died martyr’s deaths. Then what? Throughout history, even the reformers, many allowed themselves to be consumed so that the church could be built.
So God’s third question for you this morning would be this – are you willing to let yourself also be consumed for Jesus’s church? We are not all called to die for Christ’s cause, but we are all called to live for it. Are you willing to let your life be consumed? Don’t you see, that’s what the church is built out of. The building blocks are and have always been sacrifice. God’s true church has always been built brick by brick on the sacrificial love and service of God’s people. That’s the building that God is building. First Jesus’ sacrifice, the cornerstone, then apostles, and then centuries of countless Christians, spending themselves for you, for the church. Investments of time, money, lives. emotional energy so that the church would be stronger, preserved down through time.
And so now it’s our turn. Will you beloved, will you willingly and joyfully spend yourselves to build your Savior’s church? Jesus would ask no less of you! So ask yourselves, is this the kind of relationship you have with God’s church? Are you zealous to build His church, to grow His church, to minister to her members, to pray for her, to guard her unity and fight for her purity, to serve her with your physical and mental abilities, to love her, and adorn her? That’s asking a lot, isn’t it? Sometimes it can be very painful. Sometimes you will be sinned against. And that’s what you should expect because is the church perfect? No, it is not. The church is full of sinners. Sometimes she can be frustrating, and sometimes you might even want to throw your hands up and give up. But what kind of a sacrifice would it be if it were easy? That would be no sacrifice at all.
You say that’s a lot to ask. I don’t know if I’m willing to do that. How do I know that it is worth all the sacrifice? You know we often have weddings in this church. we had one just a few weeks ago. Weddings are the only times we open those double doors. And those doors open, and the bride in her radiant white dress steps through those doors, framed by daylight. It’s a sight to behold even as a guest, isn’t it? It’s really something. But the groom! The groom of course is just standing there mostly as an afterthought. But when he sees his beautiful bride walk down that aisle, his heart leaps because knows this beautiful woman is about to become his wife. She’s coming down towards me. You know in many weddings they read Ephesians 5. Let’s look at that just for a minute.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
Why should we do this, spend so much effort on the church? Well, my friends, it’s because the church is Christ’s bride. But see, the church is incomplete right now. It’s not quite ready. It’s not quite as pure as it needs to be. It’s not quite as mature as it needs to be. It’s not quite as beautiful as it needs to be to walk down the aisle. It needs a lot of work, a bit more growth, a bit more unity, a bit more purity, a bit more hospitality, a bit more joy, a bit more love. It still needs to be bathed and cleaned and have its wrinkles ironed out, doesn’t it? This verse is telling us that Jesus is well aware of that and is actively and intimately involved in making her ready. That’s His zeal for His bride. But do you know, my friends, the means by which He is accomplishing that?
Now turn to Revelation 19. Here we find ourselves at the marriage supper of the lamb, the time when the church is complete. The bride has been made ready and the celebration is about to begin. Let’s look at verse 7,
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Wow, do you see? The bride of Christ is being dressed by your service, your sweat, your tears, your sacrifice, your righteous deeds. That’s what she’s dressed in. Every patch of her beautiful radiant gown is an act of sacrificial service and love by you. And on that day, some people will be able to point to large squares of fabric and say, here Lord, here is what I made for you! Does it please You? Is it beautiful to You? And tragically, some people will only be able to bring a tiny thread. And on that day what you will wish more desperately than anything is for you to be able to bring more. If only I could have brought more, if only I could have contributed more to the beauty of your bride on your wedding day, my Lord! If only I could have brought You more beauty, more joy, more glory, and honor. Don’t you want that? Isn’t that what you want more than anything?
Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’”
What does that mean? It’s reward time. It’s party time! See, God does not take your sacrifice and give you nothing in return! Remember what it says in Hebrews 6:10-11,
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, by having served and by still serving the saints.
There’s the church again! You see how zealous Jesus is for it! So Jesus won’t forget your service, and your reward in heaven will be great indeed on that day. In fact, you will be astonished by your reward, which will be wildly out of balance with what you actually sacrificed. Because we can’t outgive God, can we? Of course not. What a wedding day that will be, Amen?
So my friends, zeal for God’s house consumed Jesus. If we love Jesus, we must love His bride too. So Calvary, let’s go. We have a wedding gown to make. Let’s get to work. Amen?
Let’s close in a word of prayer. Father, we are so grateful for Your Word and the clarity by which You laid out how You would want us to center our lives. First and foremost, we want to worship you. We want to give you glory and ascribe to You honor. We want to have a relationship with you which You freely made available to us when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, when we confess with our mouths that He is Lord and when we believe in our hearts that You raised Him from the dead. When we believe that, we are adopted into Your family, but that’s not the end of the journey. That is the beginning. And once we are in Your family, we get to serve You and we get to sacrifice for You. And we get to do the one mission You’ve left us in the world to do, which is to build the church and to grow her, to take care of her, to feed her. And we pray Lord that through this text that You would impress upon us how important that is to You, that You would empower us to build a beautiful wedding gown, that we might celebrate with You on that day. We look forward to the day You come to redeem us and the party that awaits us. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.