Part 1: Jesus cleansing the Temple, then meeting with Nicodemus
We read in John 2:13-3:36 – and Jesus journeys from Capernaum to Jerusalem, and then over to Judea.
In a nutshell: Unopposed Jesus wrathfully cleanses the Temple. He prophesies of His death and Resurrection. He works miracles, but He does not trust the crowds. Nicodemus visits Jesus by night, and they converse on spiritual matters. Jesus and His Disciples went into the countryside of Judea. When Jesus’ Disciples baptize more disciples than John the Baptist, John Baptizing at Aenon, humbly defends Jesus against his own disciples.
As Jesus leaves Capernaum, He goes to Jerusalem for the Passover. When he visits the Temple, he found out of the gathering merchants and moneychangers that were selling animals for sacrifice, exchanging foreign money, and setting up a marketplace — in, the outer court (the Court of the Gentiles).
Jesus was so angry that he boldly cleansed the Temple of all commercial activity by using a scourge made out of small cords, pouring out the moneychangers’ money, and overthrowing the tables. He told them this: “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” The Disciples were astonished; however, the Lord was zealous to take care of God’s House!
The Jews swarmed in, though, objecting to the overthrow by Jesus, and then the Jews challenged Him to perform a miracle as evidence that He had authority from God to act in such a way. Jesus then spoke that His Resurrection is His authority, and that even though no one knew what He was saying, Jesus knew that the Jews would eventually kill Him and He would then arise from the dead to bring New Life to the world. Only some were impressed at Him and His miracles; however, there did not seem to be any completely loyal followers. Most people just seemed enthused.
Nicodemus would soon come unto Jesus. Nicodemus was a member of the Jewish Council (Sanhedrin), and he was impressed with Jesus’ miracles. However, he noticed that no one could do such miracles without God being with him. Jesus responded to Him saying, “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus was confused on how someone can be born, especially when old, for it would be difficult to enter back into the mother’s womb.
One must be born of the water and of the Spirit before He can enter the Kingdom of God. One can be born of the flesh, but those need to be born of the Spirit before he/she can see the Kingdom of God, therefore, Jesus speaks that the work of God’s Spirit is mysterious for it cannot be seen, but the results can be seen. One needs to personally experience God to even know what Jesus is saying here, for those who only think worldly will not understand.
Jesus startles Nicodemus, when He said, “no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” What about Enoch, Elijah, Melchizedek, etc.? Nonetheless, Jesus calls Himself God’s Gift to the world, which has come to die on the cross to bring Salvation from God.
If condemned people believe upon Him, they will have eternal life. God’s Purpose in sending His Son into the world was to have people believe in Him so that they have eternal life. However, if people prefer darkness of sin compared to the light of Salvation, they will only bring judgment upon themselves.
Now that Jesus has come, the difference between light and darkness, good and evil, etc. is clearly seen (as the Holy Ghost is able to distinguish such things as well). People can come into relationship with the Lord through the cleansing Jesus provides, or they may choose to stay in sin. Once one has come to God’s light, they see their new life as God works within them and through them. His conversation with Nicodemus concludes.
Going forward, John the Baptist was still preaching and baptizing people near the Jordan in Aenon near to Salim. Jesus and His Disciples were preaching and baptizing in Judea. Some of John’s disciples were jealous of Jesus’ popularity, to which, John rebuked them and told them that His Work was so important that they (John and his disciples) were just ones to prepare the way for Jesus and His Ministry.
The work had completed for John and his disciples, for John was like a friend of a bridegroom who had made necessary preparations for a wedding, but had withdrawn once the bridegroom arrived (possibly a prophecy of the future wedding of Christ to the saints).
John was just ordinary, and felt so humbled, as Jesus was the One who came from Heaven, and He is speaking God’s Words. Many people rejected this Messenger; though, some did believe. God continued to reveal Himself to the world through Jesus, as He journeyed along.
The mission is carrying out well and perfectly through the power of God, especially working through Jesus. Those that had accepted His Teachings showed that they believed upon God, it seems. However, some didn’t believe Jesus at all, and only placed themselves under God’s Judgment.
What can we learn from this?
We learn that those who try to use God’s House for a purpose other than it should be will be dealt with, as He will not tolerate it. We must also know that our Lord knows all men, their nature, personality, and other ways of thinking, and thus, He knows all craftiness and other troubles that people may cause. He can see the hearts of men to know their intentions for Christ tries the heart.
As He is speaking to Nicodemus, we can see that Christ is encouraging good beginnings, even if they are weak. We have necessity of New Birth in the Spirit, if we want to see the Kingdom of God. Physical things are not of much interest to God, for He acknowledges things that are more spiritual. We must continue to believe in Him, as He is the provider of Salvation alone. He helps us as we Glorify Him!
Part 2: Reason for leaving Judea
This little event is covered in these Scriptures: Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; Luke 3:19-20; John 4:1-4. Jesus leaves Judea, knowing that the rulers will not hesitate to get rid of this “new threat” to their power. John already had been imprisoned by Herod. Jesus departed into Galilee by way of Samaria.
Jesus has left Judea, as He knew the rulers would not hesitate for getting rid of a threat to their power: John the Baptist. Jesus feels that He needs to go through Samaria to get to John the Baptist. The Lord knew about the Pharisees’ talks about Jesus’ Disciples baptizing more people than John and his disciples had.
However, the Lord was more concerned on seeing John the Baptist, noting that He did not pay much attention to the arguments that the Pharisees attempted to pose. John the Baptist had rebuked Herod for all of his evil acts; therefore, the anger of Herod for this civil insubordination caused him to send John to prison.
What can we learn from this?
Jesus applied Himself more toward preaching, He did not pay as much attention to baptizing, as He had delegated the tasks to His Disciples. This shows us that we need to promote more on feeding His sheep, rather than just doing sacraments all the time. It is better to do things in a good order, especially if you delegate your tasks to the leaders so that you don’t have to do all the work.
This would help us learn that we don’t have to do all the work ourselves, but we can delegate to our helpers. Lastly, He shows us the value placed upon friends, to which, we should be willing to forward our attention to those in need instead of talking to people who would only want to discourage us.
The Pharisees had caught on and became jealous while talking about the jealousy of others, which would only distract Jesus. We need not pay attention to such distractions and adversity, for we need to focus on the Will of God.