Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.
If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.
You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. In the Gospel of John, we read that Jesus entered the temple and drove out the money changers. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie sheds light on this incident. Why did he drive the money changers out of the temple? Because people were being taken advantage of. And instead of praying for the people, they were praying on the people. So Jesus walks in, you've taken my Father's house, which is a house of prayer, and you've turned it into a den of thieves.
So he turns their tables over. Usually, we don't think of Jesus as getting angry. We have mental snapshots of him healing the leper, bringing sight to the blind, feeding the multitudes with a few loaves and fish.
His kindness and compassion were on display. But on rare occasion, his righteous indignation came to the surface. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us one of those incidents. It's a message called What Angers and Saddens God, from the popular series called Life, based in the Gospel of John. Well, let's grab our Bibles now. We're going to turn to John, chapter 12. We're going through the Gospel of John together.
John, chapter 12, and the title of my message is What Angers and Saddens God. You know, we must not forget that Jesus walked among us as a man. He had the human experience that you and I have. Now, of course, he was not sinful, he was perfect, but he felt the pressure and presence of sin, though he did not have the inward vulnerability to it. But he knows what it's like to walk in your shoes.
He really knows what it's like to feel your pain. And he experienced the full gamut of human emotion, from joy to sadness to loneliness. I don't think there's ever been a lonelier man on the face of the earth than Jesus when he hung on the cross and bore the sin of all the world and cried out the words, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? So yes, Jesus experienced anger and Jesus experienced sorrow. In fact, we're told in Hebrews 5 15, we don't have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses.
He was at all points tested as we are, yet without sin. So that brings us to our text before us, John, chapter 12. It's a description of the final week and the life and ministry of Christ. In Jesus' ministry, there was a sense among everyone that something big was about to happen. There was an air of expectancy and excitement, and Mary had already understood it. Remember, we looked at how Jesus was in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and she broke out that beautiful perfume that was worth 25 to 30 thousand dollars and poured it on the feet of Jesus and wiped it with her hair. Mary understood that Jesus had come to die. Mary saw something all the other apostles had missed. She saw that Jesus had been saying what he meant and he had been meaning what he said. He was literally going to be betrayed, nailed to a Roman cross, and rise from the dead. That's what he had been talking about.
And so she wanted to bring some tribute, some way to show she loved him and appreciated him, and so she brought the most valuable thing she owned, which was that expensive perfume. So there was this excitement building in the air, and there was a perception that the kingdom of God was about to appear. In fact, over on Luke 19, 11, it says that during this time, as Jesus was getting close to Jerusalem, they thought the kingdom of God would appear. And here's what they were thinking, because they misunderstood the role of Christ. They thought Messiah was coming to deliver Israel.
In a sense it was true, in another sense it wasn't. It was true that he was coming to deliver Israel from their sin. And to the point it's also true, it's also true he was coming to deliver all of humanity from their sin. But he was not coming to militant Messiah. And he was not coming to overthrow the power of Rome, which was occupying Jerusalem and the nation of Israel at this particular time. Because the supreme issue for Jesus was not Rome's army, but God's temple. Because that's where he was headed. He was headed in this what we call the triumphal entry to go into the temple of God.
So let's read about what happened. John chapter 12 starting in verse 12. The next day, the news that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches out and went down the road to meet him, and they shouted, praise God. Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hail to the king of Israel. Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said, don't be afraid people of Jerusalem.
Look, your king is coming riding on a donkey's colt. His disciples didn't understand at the time this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized these things had been written about him. Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. This was the reason so many went out to meet him because they heard about that miraculous sign. Then the Pharisees, verse 19, said to each other, there's nothing we can do. Look, everyone's gone after him.
So we'll stop right there. So the resurrection of Lazarus, that was a really big deal. The news spread like wildfire.
This is before social media. Everybody knew about it. All the eyewitnesses were telling all of their friends and all their family, Jesus raised a guy from the dead. And there was no question Lazarus was dead because he had been in the tomb for days.
The process of decomposition had already set in, and yet he was alive again. Verse 18 says, that was the reason so many went out to meet him because they had heard about this miraculous sign. But there was a gross misunderstanding here. As the people were laying out these palm branches, they were missing the point. As they said, they thought he was coming to establish his kingdom then and there. Thus they cried out the word hosanna. Hosanna.
You know what the word hosanna means? It means save now. So effectively they're saying, save now, Lord. Deliver us now. Overthrow Rome now.
Do it now. Now there's no question that Jesus was doing something very unusual and very deliberate. For a good part of his ministry, you could say Jesus in effect flew under the radar a little bit. He would heal people and he would say, tell no man. He would say things like, my hour has not yet come. But now he's playing his hand, if you will.
Now he's doing something very public, very noticeable, very significant. And this, what he was doing riding into the city on a donkey was a message being sent to both Rome and to Israel. For the Romans, they would know that when a Roman general would come back from a war that he had won, he would ride back in a donkey and the people would welcome him with palm branches.
So in a way he was saying, I'm coming back to you now as a conqueror. And to the Jewish people, it was a fulfillment of prophecy because the Jews, according to Matthew 3, 1 knew that the Messiah would come suddenly into the temple. And then Zechariah 9, 9 says, the king would come to them and he would be on the colt, the foal of an ass. And so they knew Messiah would come riding a donkey and would go into the temple. So the Jews said, oh, he's declaring himself as Messiah. And the Romans are saying, oh, he's declaring himself as a conqueror. So the disciples, they're stoked. They're excited. They're thinking, finally, everybody has seen how wonderful Jesus is.
We've known it all along. But now everyone's becoming a part of this and they're crying out Hosanna. And now Jesus does something very unusual. He comes and he stops and he begins to weep. In Luke's version of the story, Luke 19, 41, we read that Jesus wept. So here's a crowd whipped into a frenzy and Jesus is weeping. The crowd is rejoicing, but Jesus is crying.
The people were dumbfounded. I wonder if the celebration stopped. They were singing and dancing and all of a sudden Jesus is crying.
It's like, Jesus, what happened? Why are you so sad? You know, why are you weeping like this? Why was he weeping?
Well, we can only guess. But maybe it's because his ministry was almost over and time was short. And yet, by and large, he had been rejected. He healed their sick. He fed the hungry. He raised their dead.
He gave them the greatest messages ever heard in all of human history. He forgave their sins and now he is left mostly alone and rejected. He knew that one of his own would soon betray him, Judas. He knew another would deny him, Peter. He knew Caiaphas and Pilate would conspire against him and he knew that many of these people crying, Hosanna, would soon be crying, crucify him and let his blood be upon us and upon our children. Not only that, he knew their future and it wasn't pretty. Jesus, being God, being omniscient, knowing all things, knew that destruction was coming upon Jerusalem in 40 years because we look back now historically and we know in 70 AD, Titus and the Roman legions came into Jerusalem after a siege of 143 days and killed 600,000 Jews and took thousands captive.
The Jewish historian Josephus talked about blood flowing through the streets of Jerusalem and the beloved temple was burned to the ground. And you know, the thing for Jesus was it broke his heart. Listen, God takes no delight when we face the ramifications of our sin. Some people like to portray God as taking some fiendish pleasure in judging people.
Nothing can be further from the truth. If that were the case, why would Christ himself take the judgment of the Father upon himself? He's doing everything to spare us from this but he knows if we reject his offer of forgiveness and we reject his atonement on the cross, we bring this upon ourselves. So this broke his heart. It caused him to weep.
It's sad. Reminds me of the story of Nehemiah. By the way, Nehemiah is an amazing book about a man that was put in a position of great influence and he used it to rebuild the walls surrounding Jerusalem. And Nehemiah was doing something that was very important and that wall had great symbolism and that's why it needed to be rebuilt. And before Nehemiah rebuilt that wall, we read that he rode around the circumference of the city of Jerusalem and he wept. But after his weeping came working. After his pain came a plan. And now Jesus is weeping because he's going now to do the ultimate work.
He's going to die on the cross for the sin of the world. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's such a blessing to hear that Pastor Greg's messages are touching lives. Pastor Greg, I grew up going to church but stopped when I turned 18, mainly rebelling against my mom who always forced me to go. I'm 52 now and I'm back going to church after all these years. I attended with my very religious girlfriend and have done so for the past year.
I've also been doing a lot of reading and talking to people and listening to different things. One of them was your radio program, A New Beginning. As you were talking, Pastor Greg, you gave a prayer and asked if anyone would like to follow Christ and have their sins forgiven.
Well, it felt like the right thing to do, and I prayed the prayer to follow Christ. Thank you, Pastor Greg. If you have a story to share, why not call us and give us all the details? Here's the number 1-866-871-1144. It's a special number for this purpose.
866-871-1144. And now Pastor Greg picks up his message called What Angers and Saddens God. Let's listen. Now Jesus enters into the temple. That's not here in John 12, but it's in the other gospels. He goes into the temple. He walks around. He assesses the situation, checks it out, and he leaves. So this is preparing us for the moment when he is about to do something quite dramatic.
Mark picks up the narrative. It says, Then Jesus arrived back in Jerusalem, Mark 11. He entered the temple, began to drive out the merchants and their customers. He knocked over the tables of money changers and the stalls of those selling doves.
So let's put it all together. Here comes Jesus riding in Jerusalem in the back of the donkey fulfilling prophecy. He stops and looks at the city and he weeps over it knowing what their future is.
Knowing that these people were going to turn against him. Now he walks into the temple and he drives the money changers out. He turns their tables over. By the way, it's a violent act to overturn a table. You want to get someone's attention, turn the table over. You don't like your order in a restaurant, just turn the table over. Don't tell them I told you to do that.
I think it's a really bad idea actually. But I'll tell you, everyone will stop and pay attention to you. It's like in a hundred westerns I've seen and it's always in the saloon, right? And so they're playing, you know, they're partying away and the guys are all gambling around the tables and there's always a piano player and he always has a little bowler hat and he always has like a little garter on his sleeve and he's always playing something like that. And then one cowboy says to another cowboy, you're cheating. And that guy says, I'm not cheating. And then the one cowboy says, get her done.
No, that's Larry the Cable Guy. So they get into an altercation and one stands up and pulls his gun and maybe there's a gunfight or maybe there's a fist fight and the piano player stops and runs for cover and people are thrown over the bar and they always break the plate glass window behind the bar and they're hanging off the chandelier. You know how it goes, right? So when Jesus overturns the table everyone stops and says, what is going on here? But see Jesus was wanting to get their attention. Now I know this doesn't fit with the image some people have of Jesus. Because some people think of Jesus as sort of the original hippie, right? The original flower child, kind of like a peace and love dude, okay.
Peace out. No, that was not Jesus. Jesus was a man's man. Jesus was a tough guy but he had a tender heart. He said, what would you be a tough guy? Hey you think you could carry a cross of the streets of Jerusalem after being whipped for 39 times?
You have to be pretty tough to do that. Even Pontius Pilate said of Christ, behold the man. Because that's exactly who Christ was. But you see Jesus was also meek. In fact Jesus said in Matthew 11 29, take my yoke upon you and learn of me.
I'm meek and humble in heart and you'll find rest for your soul. So we think of Jesus you know kind of wrapping a lamb around his neck and walking around with his little staff and and he's kind of a wimpy anemic little guy. That's how religious art portrays him. It's wrong.
It's inaccurate. With kind of wavy blonde hair you know highlights in it. No. He had coarse dark hair. He was tan from the sun.
His skin would have actually been darker. His muscles would have been strong. He was a strong man. But he was a meek man and I think it's because we don't know what meekness is. We think of meekness as weakness. But a literal definition of meekness is strength under control. Meekness has the strength to not defend oneself as in Jesus going to the cross. But meekness boldly defends others.
You see we're the opposite. If someone offends me I rise up in anger. How dare you say that about me.
Don't be disrespecting me. I have my rights. Oh I'll defend myself. That's not meekness. Meekness is when you attack me and I let it go. But then you attack someone I care about. Now I rise up. You don't be messing with them. You don't say that about them especially if they're weaker and they need help. I stand up for someone else. That's where Christ shows his real strength. No I won't stand up for myself right now.
I'll give up my rights he's saying. But you mess with these people and that ticks me off. And that's what makes God mad. What makes God mad?
What makes God mad is when religious layers and religious people try to keep people from knowing God. Why did he drive the money changers out of the temple? Because basically you have the Jewish temple. First it was a tabernacle or a tent. Later to become a building built by King Solomon. Rebuilt later by King Herod. And that was a temple known as the second temple that was ultimately dismantled stone by stone by Titus and the Roman legions. So you have the outer court of the Gentiles and the temple. Now as you get in closer there is a special area called the Holy of Holies. And that is where the high priest would walk in once a year to offer a sacrifice to the sins of the people. Inside of the Holy of Holies and the original temple was the Ark of the Covenant. No it's not in a warehouse like Indiana Jones movies tell us. It was there in the inner sanctum of the temple. And inside of the Ark of the Covenant was Aaron's rod that butted and a jar of manna. Right?
Amazing. So that's the temple. So in this outer court, the court of the Gentiles, that would be the non-Jews, this is where these guys set up their tables. You go, what are they selling? A few souvenirs?
No. Here's what they were doing. People were coming in with their animals to sacrifice. And these men out there said, excuse me let me see that animal. Oh that animal is flawed. You can't bring that animal in.
But hey we are having a closeout deal on special approved lambs that you can buy. And they would jack up the price and rip the people off so the people were being taken advantage of. And instead of praying for the people they were praying on the people. So Jesus walks in and this angers him.
Why? Because God welcomes all people into his house. And even though the Jews are God's Covenant people, even though the Jews are God's chosen people, it is also true that God desires a relationship with all people and even at this point historically, before the death of Christ, that opens the door to all of humanity to approach God, even at this point God welcomed in the Gentiles or the non-Jews. In fact Isaiah 56 says, God speaking, I'll bless the Gentiles and commit themselves to the Lord and serve Him and love His name and worship Him.
I'll accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices because My temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations. And that is what Jesus is saying. You have taken My Father's house, which is a house of prayer, and you have turned it into a den of thieves. So He drove the people out.
It made them angry. You can see why Pastor Greg Laurie titled today's message, What Angers and Saddens God. It's part of a series called Life, based in John's Gospel. Now, if you enjoy these teachings in God's Word, why not draw Pastor Greg an email and let him know? His email address is greg-harvest.org. In fact, why not put Pastor Greg on your prayer list? Pray that God continues to use him to touch lives through these daily studies. And if you can invest in this outreach, that would be wonderful.
We're completely listener supported. These studies couldn't come your way without the generosity of our listeners. And Pastor Greg, we're so thankful for that investment, no matter the amount.
Yeah, that's right. What does that mean? That means give whatever you can give. Some can give just a little bit, and that's okay. Some can give more.
Some, frankly, can give a lot. Give what you can give, and this will help us to continue this radio broadcast in your area and also look into some new areas in the future. So do what you can do. Do it quickly, if possible. And in advance, I want to say thanks for whatever you can do.
Yeah, that's right. And you can make that donation securely at our website, harvest.org. And while you're there, get the details on the resource we'd like to send you to thank you for your generosity. It's a book called Don't Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table, written by Pastor Louie Giglio. He points out we're in a battle for the control of our minds, and our enemy is trying to push a narrative that will lead to defeat.
The subtitle is It's Time to Win the Battle of Your Mind. And we'll send you this book to thank you for your investment. And we won't be mentioning this much longer, so contact us soon.
Go to harvest.org and get all the details. Or you can write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300.
Reach us any time 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300. Are you receiving Pastor Greg's daily devotions? They're a great way to start your day with extra insight and inspiration. Sign up for his devotions today at harvest.org. Well, next time Pastor Greg brings the final part of his message, What angers and saddens God. We'll look at the importance of being appropriate representatives for Christ, because the world is watching. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie.
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