John 2:16 Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!
Exodus 20:2-3 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.
Its easy to deal with the cleansing of the temple, for we imagine it was another time, another place and another people. Given that they are someone else’s sins, we can even get outraged, that someone would presume to do such things in God’s house. Sheep, cattle, pigeons, and money changers – clearly they just don’t belong – not in God’s house!
But, suppose it was not another time, another place, and another people – suppose those words, are words for us? After all, we were bought with a price, we have been redeemed by God, and our bodies are temples. If we are the temples, do we need cleansing? If we have been redeemed, what is involved in a right relationship with God?
It is this question which is central to our text, and it is why God gave the 10 commandments. For God gave the 10 commandments to the people he redeemed, they define our relationship to him. It is not a relationship of equals, it is not a democracy. It is a relationship between the one in need of redemption, and the one who is able to redeem. If we could redeem ourselves, there would be no need of God. And while we may say that we are not in Egypt, we are certainly not out of slavery – there are all manner of things, which enslave – all manner of things which would be our masters – and none of them mean us well.
You see, the 10 commandments, are not opinions, suggestions, possibilities – but they define what it is to be in a right relationship with God – the God who has already demonstrated his love, commitment and devotion by redeeming us – while we were yet sinners – before we had done anything good. The problem is, that when we are not in a right relationship, we cannot see any of this.
The first response is unbelief – no one could do all this! Either God doesn’t mean it, or God doesn’t love me, or God has no intention of saving me -
The second response is repentance – every time we look, all we see is our sin
The third response is love – we see how we can show our love to the God who has redeemed us
If our relationship with God is right, all our other relationships will also be right, ….