While I do not know if it is, in fact, a universal practice to have church yard sales, it certainly is a significant tradition at nearly ever church with which I have been associated. And what a fascinating thing it is, too! People bring all kinds of things to a yard sale and is is wonderful that they are willing to share their extra with the church.
There are always interesting things and strange juxtapositions when people start bringing in their treasures for the sale, like a treadmill, rolltop desk and daybed in the Narthex. Not something you see every week.
Yes, it looks like an episode of Hoarders, but it’s just our choir room filled to the brim!
Then there are other treasures as well……..
This is one absolutely amazing squirrel! He appears to have antlers and is eating a bunch of grapes. I’ve never seen anything like it!
And this year we’re doing a craft sale and bake sale as well.
Ultimately, what is wonderful about all of this is that after Saturday all of this will be converted into funds which will be used to sustain ministry at this church. Same thing that happens at churches around the country all the time.
Sometimes, it is hard to let go of our extra things in life. How many times have I thought that I should keep this extra whatever-it-is because someday I might break/lose the other four I have already? How often have I looked at the same items in a box at my house and remembered some funny story or important person that the item brought to my mind? Countless times! We do not want to let go of the security that things provide. But, perhaps most of all, we hold tight to these things so that we may hold tight to the people and the memories that are so tenuously attached to them.
Letting go of things is letting go of people. Letting go of memories. There is something particularly healing about letting them go at the church. Yes, the ministries that are supported are a good cause, but it is more than that. The truth is we must let things die so that they might be resurrected. Crazy as it may sound, leaving our things–our possessions, the vessels of our long-clutched memories–at the church seems to emphasize the resurrection end of that truth. They and we go on to new life.
2 thoughts on “Ah the Church Yard Sale!”
Truth, What did Jesus do and say when they were selling at the temple? A. Please turn to John 2:13.
B. While you are turning….
The great reformer, Martin Luther had many enemies. However, one stands out from the crowd, Johann Tetzel. Tetzel was a Dominican preacher whose sale of indulgences, documents purchased for a sum of money that granted remission of sins and thus less time in purgatory, angered Luther. This led Luther to write his famous 95 theses, and challenge Tetzel to public debate. Tetzel coined the jingle, “As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs.” He even promised that indulgences could secure forgiveness from future sins. Tetzel was later accused of fraud and embezzlement. He retired to the Dominican monastery in Leipzig where he died a broken man in 1519.
What was the matter with Johann Tetzel? The Roman Catholic Church used the profits from the sale of indulgences to pay for the reconstruction of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Was it the greed, the materialism? Was Tetzel sort of a spiritual Bernie Madoff? Or was it that, by leading people to trust in indulgences, Johann Tetzel led multitudes away from trusting Jesus Christ?
1. We are in the section concerning the public ministry of God, the Son (John 2:1-12:36a).
2. Last week, we looked at Jesus’ first miracle, turning water into wine at the marriage in Cana (John 2:1-12).
3. This week, some time has elapsed (either days or months); it is Passover, and Jesus has gone up to Jerusalem for the feast.
4. This section is divided into two main parts and a short comment:
a. The cleansing of the temple
b. The reaction of the Jewish authorities
c. Untrustworthy believers
5. Each of the first two sections follows a similar pattern:
a. Jesus’ actions or the Jewish authorities reaction
b. Jesus’ words
c. The disciples remember
B. Exposition: The first Passover (John 2:13-3:21)–The first cleansing of the temple (John 2:13-25)
1. Zeal for Your house (John 2:13-17)
a. Jesus’ actions (John 2:13-15)
2:13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 And He made a scourge 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 (John 2:13-15).
1) “The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.”
a) As an observant Jew, our Lord attended the feast of the Passover. Passover is one of the three feasts that every able Jewish man was to attend (Deut 16:16).
b) John calls the feast “the Passover of the Jews” because he is writing to a Gentile audience.
c) One “went up” to Jerusalem, not just because of its altitude of 2,500 feet, but also because it is the holy city.
d) Josephus reports that great multitudes came for the feast.
e) If Jesus’ ministry lasted four years, the date was Saturday, April 14, AD 29 (Nisan 14, 3789 AM), if three years then the date was Wednesday, April 3, AD 30 (Nisan 14, 3790 AM).
i) The three-year ministry is more likely.
ii) The vendors would not be working on the Sabbath (Saturday, April 14, AD 29).
2) “And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.”
a) One cleansing or two?
i) Because there is an account of a temple cleansing in the Synoptics at the end of Jesus’ ministry (Matt 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48), some have supposed that John is referring to the same event.
ii) This would mean that John rearranged the material for some reason or was mistaken.
iii) It is hard to see that John could have deliberately rearranged the material since it is linked to the other events in the chronology of his gospel.
iv) A better explanation is that there were two cleansings of the temple.
v) There are significant differences between the events.
(a) Only John mentions the whip of cords.
(b) In John, Jesus is staying in Jerusalem (John 2:23); in the Synoptics, He is staying in Bethany.
(c) In John, Jesus speaks of a “place of business;” in the Synoptics, He speaks of a “robber’s den.”
(d) Jesus’ reference to His resurrection is clearer in the Synoptics.
(e) In John, the authorities demand a sign; in the Synoptics, they are indignant and want to kill Him.
vi) These dissimilarities argue for two separate cleansings of the temple, one at the beginning and one at the end of Jesus’ ministry.
b) Jesus saw the marketing in the temple.
i) These were a service in that tithes could not be paid in pagan coinage and it was convenient to buy rather than bring a sacrifice.
ii) However, there were overcharges in this trade.
c) The Gk. word here translated “temple” (hieron) means “the whole temple precinct w[ith] its buildings, courts, etc.”
i) This refers to the court of the Gentiles, the only place where Gentiles could pray in the temple. In 1870, a sign in Gk. was found that read:
No foreigner shall enter within the balustrade of the temple,
or within the precinct,
and whosoever shall be caught shall be responsible for (his) death
that will follow in consequence (of his trespassing).
ii) Jesus’ problem was not just the injustice of the trade, but that it interfered with the worship of God by Gentiles.
iii) John’s Gentile audience would appreciate this.
iv) God is concerned about all people, not just Jews.
3) “And He made a scourge 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.”
a) Jesus drove out the vendors along with their animals and upset the moneychangers’ tables.
b) The Gk. word translated “whip” (phragellion) is a Lat. loan word from flagellum, a whip consisting of several thongs.
c) While Jesus’ actions were radical and disruptive, they did not cause irreparable damage to anyone.
b. Jesus’ words (John 2:16)
16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business” (John 2:16).
1) Jesus viewed the actions of the vendors as a desecration.
a) “My Father’s house”–This is a clear statement of His divine Sonship.
b) The Gk. word translated “business” is emporion borrowed from the Lat. emporium (“a market”).
c) There is a play on the word “house,” “make not the house of my Father a house of merchandise” (YLT).
2) Jesus may have been thinking of Zechariah 14, “And there will no longer be a Canaanite [or merchant] in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day” (Zech 14:21).
a) The Heb. word translated “Canaanite” (kĕna’ănî) can also be translated “tradesman.”
b) Therefore, it has been translated, “trader” (ESV, RSV), “traders” (BBE, NJPS, NJB, NLT, NRSV), “merchant” (DRA, NAB, YLT) “merchants” (CJB).
c) The Aram. Targum has “those who do business.”
3) Jesus took decisive action.
a) Jesus was not protesting the temple itself, but those who interfered with the worship of God.
b) We must be careful both to allow nothing to interfere with our worship of God, and to place no hindrance before others in their worship of God.
c) The Gk. grammar indicates that Jesus is commanding that they stop the action already in progress, i.e., making the temple a place of business instead of worship.
d) Jerome wrote, “A certain fiery and starry light shone from his eyes and the majesty of Godhead gleamed in His face.”
e) In any case, “gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” is a myth!
c. The disciples remember (John 2:17).
17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME” (John 2:17).
1) The disciples do not immediately understand the meaning of Jesus’ saying.
a) This is what we should expect.
b) “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).
2) The Scripture is a quote from Ps 69:9, a Psalm of David when he was undergoing persecution.
a) The Gk. word translated “zeal” (zēlos) means “active enthusiasm, ardent affection, keen interest” or “earnest concern.”
b) The Gk. word translated “consume” means, “to eat up ravenously, eat up, … devour, swallow.” The sense is that it will destroy Jesus.
c) John sees this as the beginning of the conflict that will intensify until it results in Jesus’ death.
2. Destroy this temple (John 2:18-22).
a. The Jewish leaders’ reaction (John 2:18)
18 The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?” (John 2:18).
1) The Jewish authorities demand a sign from Jesus to validate His authority to behave like this.
2) The term “the Jews” does not refer to the crowd, but the Jewish authorities.
3) The Rabbis say, “Now if righteous men ask for a sign, then how much more so the wicked?”
4) It is as Paul said, “Jews demand miraculous signs” (1 Cor 1:22 NIV).
5) The Gk. word for sign here is the same one that John has been using.
6) However, Jesus does not perform signs for His opponents:
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt 12:38-40).
7) The resurrection is the only sign that they will get.
b. Jesus’ words (John 2:19)
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).
1) Jesus responds with an enigmatic saying about His resurrection.
2) When He cleanses the temple again at the end of His ministry, His reference to the “sign of Jonah” will be much less ambiguous (Matt 12:39-40).
c. The Jewish leaders’ misunderstanding (John 2:20-21)
20 The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body (John 2:20-21).
1) “The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?'”
a) The Jewish authorities do not understand Jesus’ veiled reference.
i) This also is not surprising. John has already told us that “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5).
ii) Jesus no doubt wants them to think about this saying long and hard until they understand the riddle.
b) The authorities are astounded at Jesus’ saying since it is an architectural impossibility.
i) The Gk. word translated “temple” (naos) means “a place or structure specifically associated with or set apart for a deity, who is frequently perceived to be using it as a dwelling.”
ii) A different word was used in John 2:14-15 that refers to the entire temple precincts (hieron).
iii) Either this means that the temple refurbishment has been going on for forty-six years or that the sanctuary has stood for forty-six years.
(a) Flavius Josephus (AD 37-c. 100) records:
And now Herod [r. 36-4 BC], in the eighteenth year of his reign [20/19 BC], and after the acts already mentioned, undertook a very great work, that is, to build by himself the temple of God, and make it larger in size, and to raise it to a most magnificent height, as esteeming it to be the most glorious of all his actions, as it really was, to bring it to perfection, and that this would be sufficient for an everlasting memorial of him.
(b) Therefore, the date of Jesus’ statement would be AD 29 or 30.
(c) The Rabbis, no fans of Herod the Great, comment that “whoever has not beheld Herod’s building has not seen anything beautiful in his life.”
(d) The Rabbis did expect Messiah to cleanse and restore the temple.
(e) “And will You …”–“You” is emphatic in Gk. showing the scorn of their response. They did not take Jesus seriously.
2) “But He was speaking of the temple of His body.”
a) John explains that Jesus was referring to His resurrection.
b) It is as if He said to them, “If I do not rise from the dead, do not believe that I am the Messiah.”
c) Jesus staked the truth of His mission on the resurrection.
d. The disciples remember (John 2:22).
22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word, which Jesus had spoken (John 2:22).
1) The disciples did not grasp the meaning of this saying until the resurrection.
2) Jesus’ saying was certainly memorable; it was recounted in a twisted form at Jesus’ trial (Matt 26:61; Mark 14:58) and used as a taunt while He was on the cross (Mark 15:29).
3) One Bible expositor comments that
it shows how long truth may lie dormant in men’s minds without being understood, or doing them any service…. We must not suppose religious teaching does no good because it is not understood immediately. It may do good long after the teacher is dead.
3. Untrustworthy believers (John 2:23-25).
25 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs, which He was doing. 24 But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man (John 2:23-25).
a. “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs, which He was doing.”
1) There is no reason to think that these people have not exercised saving faith.
a) The Gk. word translated “believed” means “to consider someth[ing] to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust.”
b) John says that they “believed in His name,” and earlier he had said that “the right to become children of God” is given “to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
c) “Observing His signs”–This is exactly the effect that John hoped that Jesus’ signs would have (John 20:30-31).
d) Although John focuses on seven signs, he by no means considers them the only signs that Jesus performed (John 20:30; 21:35).
b. “But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men.”
1) The Gk. word translated “entrusting” is the same as “believed” in the previous verse.
a) This has been translated:
23 While He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many trusted in His name when they saw the signs He was doing. 24 Jesus, however, would not entrust Himself to them, since He knew them all 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify about man; for He Himself knew what was in man (John 2:23-25