The Whip Which Heals

John 2:14-17, NCV

 “In the Temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves. He saw others sitting at tables, exchanging different kinds of money. 15 Jesus made a whip out of cords and forced all of them, both the sheep and cattle, to leave the Temple. He turned over the tables and scattered the money of those who were exchanging it. 16 Then he said to those who were selling pigeons, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a place for buying and selling!”

17 When this happened, the followers remembered what was written in the Scriptures: “My strong love for your Temple completely controls me.”

He used a whip. The text tells us that. Jesus carefully took cords and braided a whip. What can I say? I’m amazed at His reaction to what He saw going down in the Temple. What Jesus saw grieved His heart so intensely that there wasn’t anything else He could do. The last verse of the passage tells us that His “strong love” for the Temple was what provoked Jesus’ response.

I think we should consider three different whips.

  • The one Jesus carefully braided to “cleanse the Temple.”
  • The one used on Jesus’ back as part of our atonement. (Isaiah 53:4-6).
  • The one that believers experience in the ways God disciplines us as His children.

All three are critical to see and know. Each carries a significance to this particular teaching. All three carry their own “pain.” We discover that the Temple becomes “pure” again. We learn that His pain becomes our salvation. And finally, I get the discipline to become holy.

There are many times when Jesus has used the “whip” on me!

Not a leather one mind you, but a braided cord of discipline and sonship. What He saw taking place in the marketplace of “me” (I’m His temple now), can bring Jesus grief and sorrow. You see, I am the residence of the Holy Spirit, and He fully intends to make me conform. Hebrews 12 tells me what to expect as a son.

“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.”

Hebrews 12:7-8, (in context)

It’s best to remember that Jesus was beaten almost to death for my sin. So “whips” often happen when the will and purposes of God occur. It’s His way of cleansing through the effort of the Holy Spirit. I believe that certain “things” will only take place when the whip is cracked. His loving discipline is what we need.

Think about this for a moment.

“But he was wounded for the wrong we did;
    he was crushed for the evil we did.
The punishment, which made us well, was given to him,
    and we are healed because of his wounds.”

Isaiah 53:5, (context. 4-7)

Yes, a whip carefully used is needful, and yes, it will bring us pain. But the three can show us spiritual realities. It’s through each that we see God doing His work. I should warn you–this is not a “prosperity” gospel. There’s not “a blab it and grab it” theology. Just reading Hebrews 11 and 12 should alert you to what’s real.

God understands us. He knows exactly what we need to have so we might grow up in Him. Trust and obey.

“We may feel God’s hand as a Father upon us when He strikes us as well as when He strokes us.”

   Abraham Wright

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