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Reading through the Gospels 32

John 2:13-22


Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover (Deuteronomy 16:16).  Then week long celebrated the Jews being freed from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12:1-13).  People from all over traveled to Jerusalem. The Gentiles worshiped in the area where people were selling.


In the temple, people were selling oxen, sheep, and pigeons and the money-changers were present. The money-changers were people who exchanged foreign currency so a temple tax could be paid.  The animals were sold for sacrifices, especially for those who traveled far or whose sacrifices were found to be not acceptable. Were these sellers and money-changers charging more than they should? Scripture does not say, but we can imagine the sin of greed being present.  How could people worship with so much other noisy activity going on? Were these people making money for themselves or for the upkeep of the temple?


Jesus made a whip with cords. How long did it take for Him to make the whip out of cords.  I think of braiding a girls hair and how long that takes and how much longer a whip would have been.  Did He stand their braiding cords observing each person quietly? As he braided, did his anger calmly rise inside as He looked around?  He used the whip of cords to drive them out. Yikes!  I can imagine that whip flying about as people and oxen and sheep scattered everywhere. A whip would have been necessary to get the animals to move.  I can feel Jesus's anger as he dumped coins out of containers and then turned over the tables. I can see the disappointment rising in His disrespected heart turning into outrage. It makes me never want to make Jesus feel this way in anything I do.  The pigeon sellers must have watched him turning over the tables. Maybe they were in a corner safe from the whip.  Jesus told them to take the things away and "do not make my Father's house a house of trade." 


I always feel as if it is a sin when my anger rises because of other scripture, but here we see that even Jesus got angry. Jesus's anger was "righteous anger." When I get angry, I should review the root of the anger.  Is it because of emotion or is it because of the sin of another or the unjust actions of another? Is it a personal trivial matter or is it something that would offend Jesus?  I should not easily use "righteous anger" to justify my own anger.


Just because Jesus used a whip it does not mean I have the authority to use violence when I am angry.  There are certain vocations that have the authority to administer physical punishment, whether it be arrest or something further. These vocations have been called by God and have the authority of God.  If the authority is not mine, my actions need to be under self-check.


This story weighs heavily on some.  I have seen it in my own church. Is it okay for us to sell tickets to the upcoming church dinner in the church narthex (lobby)? It is not really the worship area, but the area people walk through to get to worship.  What about scouts selling in this area that are not selling to support the church missions?  God's house is a place of worship, not a place to make a profit or a place to make a business advantage.


The disciples remembered the scripture "Zeal for your house will consume me" and realized that scripture had been fulfilled. Psalm 69:9, "For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me." The word "zeal" today is most commonly defined as "passion," but in this context the word means "jealousy."  600 years earlier King David wrote a prophecy that Jesus would be jealous for the house of God.


The Jews wanted a sign. A sign for what?  A sign for the things Jesus had done in the temple.  A sign to prove Jesus had the authority to drive everyone out?  A sign that people were not to be selling things in the temple? Seems more like a sign for what He said in that He referenced "my Father's house."  Jesus replies with truth that they do not understand. Jesus replies with a prophecy.  I do not want to be a sign-seeker. Faith is believing without seeing.


"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews think he means the physical building and Jesus means the spiritual temple that is Himself, His body, referring to His own death on the cross and the resurrection after three days. Jesus says "I will raise" because He raised Himself up on the third day. Did Jesus make a gesture over His body while He spoke these words?  Scripture does not tell us whether Jesus replied to the Jew's inquiry of what He meant or whether He just walked away.  However, scripture does tell us that the Jews remembered His words after His resurrection and believed.


Jesus began with a miracle of converting water into wine and continued with a cleansing of the temple.  This is how Jesus works in a believer's heart, first converting them to a believer and then cleansing the heart over and over again.


This is the first cleansing of the Temple.  The second was 3 years later found in Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:12-19, and Luke 19:45-48.

Copyright Cheryl Rutledge-Brennecke
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