We're going to look at the Lord Jesus in two very different situations. We will see two sides of Him - two sides which belong together.
In John 2:1-11, we see him at a wedding, celebrating with the newly-weds, sharing with them in their happiness.
In John 2:12-16, we see Him as the religious reformer, strenuously defending the purity of worship in God's House.
These two sides of the Lord Jesus show us something about the purpose of life.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with question, "What is man's chief end (purpose)?"
The answer is given, "Man's chief end (purpose) is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."
Glorifying God and enjoying God - the two belong together.
In the Christian life, there is both privilege and responsibility - the privilege of being a Christian and the responsibility of being a Christian.
In John 2, we learn about the joy of being a Christian and the seriousness of being a Christian. We learn that the joy of being a Christian and the seriousness of being a Christian are grounded in Christ's joy and Christ's seriousness.
In Christ, joy and seriousness went hand-in-hand. They are to go hand-in-hand in the Christian.
* First, let's look at Christ's joy and our joy. He does not call His followers to be kill-joys. He wants to make us happy, to give us true happiness.
C. H. Spurgeon, the nineteenth-century preacher who was known as "The Prince of Preachers", had some rather caustic yet very wise words of advice for his students. He was critical of the severe, austere kill-joy, the kind of person who spreads gloom everywhere. He was critical of the religion of the black clothes, the kind of religion which is suspicious of all joy and happiness.
Spurgeon said, "I know men who, from head to feet, are so ministerial in their dress that no particle of manhood is visible." Then he says, "An individual who has no geniality about him had better be an undertaker, and bury the dead, for he will never succeed in influencing the living." He continues, "I commend cheerfulness to all who would win souls; not levity and frothiness, but a genial, happy spirit."
Jesus was no monk in a monastery, no hermit hiding from the world of ordinary men and women. Jesus was to be found where people are.
Here, we see Him at a wedding.
On another occasion, we see Him at the home of Martha and Mary. We also see Him sharing a meal with Zacchaeus, a tax-collector.
We see Him, washing His disciples' feet.
If we think that being a Christian means being aloof, displaying a holier-than-thou attitude, then we haven't learned it from Jesus.
Let's look more closely at what Jesus did at the wedding. What we have here is a miracle - a miracle with a message.
The message is contemporary. This miracle teaches us that the Lord Jesus Christ is still at work today, seeking to transform human life.
Whenever Jesus comes into someone's life, he brings a new quality of life. Without Him, life is dull, stale, flat, drab and uninteresting. With Him, life is thrilling, wonderful and exhilarating.
Do you think that this is an exaggerated contrast?
This miracle shows us that there can be a transformation in life, like water being turned into wine.
Will we let Jesus give us this true joy, which is deep and permanent?
* Second, let's look at the seriousness of Christ's anger, as He clears the Temple.
Jesus is no sentimentalist. He's someone who needs to be taken seriously.
His joy and His seriousness belong together. Like Him, we are to have both joy and seriousness - not joy without seriousness, not seriousness without joy, joy and seriousness together.
Let's think of this in terms of our worship, but we must never worship Him without reverence,
It is only as we realize something of the holiness of God that we will truly be filled with the joy that comes from knowing that the holy God loves us.
Never come to the House of God completely unprepared. Prepare yourself by prayer. Remember that you are coming to God's House of prayer.
Never come to God's House, as if you were "pally with the Deity." we can come to God with confidence in Him, but we must come with true respect, always remembering who we are speaking to - God.
Jesus' clearing of the Temple (John 2:7-22) produced two different reactions
- The disciples were surer than ever that Jesus was the Messiah;
- The Jews demanded what right Jesus had to act like this.
Jesus' response to His critics was remarkable. He spoke of His resurrection. Temple worship would pass away. Jesus would rise again.
The Jews put all the emphasis on the place of worship. Jesus put the emphasis on the spirit of worship (John 2:23-25);
Jesus was remarkable - His unusual actions and His words of wisdom. This had an effect on people - "many believed."
What did Jesus do?
He refused to cash in on a moment's popularity. He knew human nature - our fickleness, our instability.
Jesus wanted disciples, not decisions.
Will you be His disciple - one who will be His true follower all the days of your life?