03.4 John – Ignoring the Clutter

First of all, let me say that signs are not the problem.  God is active and alive and we see signs of His activity and direction for and in our lives every day.  When we pray, we ask Him to reveal Himself to us and also to reveal the timing and direction that He desires for our specific lives and specific needs and calling.

The problem comes when you substitute a reliance on signs over the word of scripture.  The problem comes when you continue to do what you know is wrong because, well, you are waiting on a sign.

The priests knew the activity going on at the temple was wrong.  One need only look at the care with which the original priestly tribe, the Levites, were tasked with handling every aspect of the tabernacle, from the poles to the cloth to the articles to see the importance.  One need only look back to the original sacrifices of Cain and Able to see God’s desire for a sacrificial heart, not a sacrifice given out of obligation.

I doubt that, all of a sudden, one day, the priests said, “let’s ignore what is written about the temple and set up a lot of shops and dishonest money changers.”  It probably started innocently enough.  Someone, coming to the temple, may have suffered a mishap, such as an attack by wild animals or a disease, and the lamb, dove or other animal that they had planned to bring and sacrifice was killed.  Wouldn’t it be better if a replacement was available?

That is how clutter begins in our own houses.  It is also how clutter begins in our hearts and our own lives.  When it is pointed out to us that our house is a mess or that our life is a mess, we sometimes respond like the priests.  “Who are you to tell me how to run my house, how to live my life?”

The response that Jesus gave to the priests is truly amazing.  In response He said, my authority and your sign is that I came into this world to die and defeat death for you.

So, when it comes to cleaning the clutter of sin out of your heart and out of your life, so you need more of a sign than that?  He also demonstrated that you need not do the work alone.  Jesus is more than happy to chase the sin away from your life, the same way He cleared the temple courts, the same way He sent demons scurrying and the same way He transformed you on the day you first believed: with His power, with His might, with His authority and with His Holy Spirit.

My Answers:

9.
a.
1. burden of proof.  They sided with the money changers and merchants, Jesus had to produce proof and signs to justify His side, although He was in the right.
2. They had all the scripture and the law.  The activity was either right or wrong under the law.  A new sign would not have overturned what was written in the scripture.

b.
I have asked for signs to indicate direction and to confirm my actions, not His authority over me.  I do not ask my parents for signs or proof of their authority, I know love and love them in return.  (I see why this question is worded the way it is and I probably was at that stage at one time in my faith).

10
a.
His body was the temple of God, the dwelling place of the most High – It was an admission, a sign, that He is God.  It also demonstrated His full knowledge of His mission and His power over both life and death.

b.
They twisted to say that He said, “I can/will destroy the temple”.  Their twisted wording made it to sound as if Jesus was an enemy to the temple of God as opposed to the one who would reconstruct it.

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