The Jerusalem Temple Is Cleansed John 2:13-16; cp. Matt 21:12-13 // Mark 11:15-17 // Luke 19:45-46

13It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem.14In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money.15Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables.16Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”

17Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”

18But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.”

19All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20“What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?”21But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body.22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.

Most of the gospels place the cleansing of the temple just before Jesus’ arrest.  John places it here at what appears to be the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  There are two possible explanations:  First, it is entirely possible that Jesus cleansed the temple twice.  Second, we must note that John does not say when this occurred.  He simply tells the story now.  Ancient literature does not hold to telling stories in order of when the occurred as much to when they make a point. 

So, what is the point?  In the last chapter Jesus used empty ceremonial stone jars and filled them with wine.  Here, he takes a stone temple that was full of commerce and was of men, and replaces it all with himself.  The temple was a place of great ceremony that had gone from having deep meaning and connection to God, to a way for men to make money selling sacrificial animals and exchanging money for an unfair profit.  Jesus, in telling to religious leaders they may as well destroy the temple, was telling them, and us, that it is not the stone building, or the stone jars, or the stone hearts that really matter.  No, it is the life of Jesus with us that makes all the difference.

Lord, I need Your life in me so bad right now.  I always need it, but the trials are hard and I am struggling to live in Your joy.  I know You have given me these readings as a reminder of what is truly important in life: You!  Change me Lord, Change me.  *obbs*