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Message of the Day: Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers [a]doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”

So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. (John 2:13-25, NKJV)

The synoptic gospels record a cleansing of the temple toward the end of Jesus’ ministry.

The “oxen, sheep, and doves,” are required for sacrifices. Jews who came great distances had to be able to buy sacrificial animals near the temple. The merchants, however, were selling them in the outer court of the temple itself, the one place where Gentiles could come to pray.  Many coins had to be changed into currency acceptable to the temple authorities, which made money changers necessary. They should not, however, have been working in the temple itself.

The Jews thought Jesus was referring to the literal temple, but John tells us that he was not.

The temple was not completed until A.D. 64. The meaning is that work had been going on for 46 years. Since it had begun in 20 BCE, the year of the event recorded here is A.D. 26/27.

Miracles are often thought to know some hearts, but only God, who was called “searcher of hearts,” was thought to know the hearts of all people.

As is fitting for the one whom John has identified as God, Jesus takes the initiative, His finding sellers in the temple, his making a whip, his driving out the cattle and sheep, his pouring out the coins of the money-changers, his telling the sellers of doves to take them away and stop making his Father’s house a market place – all represent the divine initiative of Jesus, which also gets emphasis from an Old Testament reference to zeal for God’s house (Psalm 69:9).

The driving out of animals being sold for sacrifice and the sending out of sacrificial doves symbolize the outmodedness of these sacrifices now that the Lamb of God has appeared on the scene. In a cryptic reference to his own body, Jesus’ ironic calling on the Jews to destroy “this temple” alludes to his prediction that he will raise the temple in three days alludes to his raising that body from the dead by his own divine power. Since by definition a temple is the dwelling place of deity, Jesus’ being God (1:1-18) makes his body a new temple replacing the old one in Jerusalem.

We can draw at least two things from this. First, being God, Jesus knew who those who believe him and those who do not. Second, He himself replaces the temple the venue of God’s presence.

We too should focus not just on the cleanliness of our churches but the cleanliness of our hearts which is the locus of our being, our bodies as the temple of God. We carry Christ’s name which summed up our person and our relationship with him.

Read more. Click here: Jesus’ Final Week. Monday: Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Sources:

MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

http://www.biblegateway.com

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