John 2:13-22 NRSVue
13The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves and the money changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, with the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” 19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
I imagine myself visiting the Temple when Jesus enters. I am accustomed to the moneychangers, and to the hucksters who convenience worshippers by selling cattle, sheep and doves for the ritual sacrifices. The fury of Jesus startles and upsets me, makes me think. Surely these guys are making an honest few bucks?
But this is the house of God. When money creeps in, it tends to take over. Is there any of the Christian sacraments untouched by commercialism? Christening parties, First Communion money, Confirmation discos, wedding feasts… They are meant to be the touch of God at key moments in our lives; but can God get a hearing amid the clatter of coins?
The temple was one of the most sacred religious sites and mysteries for Jesus' people. For him to compare his body and himself to the temple and to declare that he was greater than the temple would insult his people and bring him to death. In prayer we watch for what is behind what Jesus says in the events and to the people of his time. Later they would all remember and realise that he foretold his resurrection. He knew he was 'in for the long haul' - he would live forever, raised from death among us all.