Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

John 2:13 The Passover of the Jews was
near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14
In the temple he found people selling
cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money
changers seated at their tables. 15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them
out of the temple, both the sheep and
the cattle. He also poured out the coins
of the money changers and overturned
their tables. 16 He told those who were
selling the doves, “Take these things out
of here! Stop making my Father’s house
a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for
your house will consume me.” 18 The
Jews then said to him, “What sign can
you show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus
answered them, “Destroy this temple,
and in three days I will raise it up.” 20
The Jews then said, “This temple has
been under construction for forty-six
years, and will you raise it up in three
days?” 21 But he was speaking of the
temple of his body. 22 After 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.
John 2:23 When he was in Jerusalem
during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the
signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on
his part would not entrust himself to
them, because he knew all people 25
and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in

This passage is important historically
and theologically. The Temple Action (to
give it a neutral title — it is more than a
“cleansing” — ) was one of the two
events that moved the religious authorities in Jerusalem to act against Jesus.
Combined with the messianic entry, the
Temple Action constituted a threat both
religious and political. As a result, scholars usually affirm the historicity of the
event, even though it is reported differently in John and in the Synoptic
Gospels. It is also important theologically. The moralising tradition usually assumes some kind of abuse or sharp practice in the Temple. But the provision of
animals and a currency exchange service
were both required for the ordinary
functioning of the Temple. Attacking the
sellers was attacking the Temple as such
and this was well understood by the authorities. Jesus’ action critiqued the
Temple as the unique point of access to
God. He had already implied this in his
ministry and teaching: the kingdom of
God is among you.
There is a question regarding the timing
of the incident. In the other Gospels, it
happens during Jesus’ only visit to
Jerusalem. In John, where there are
many visits to Jerusalem (historically
probable), the incident takes place at the
very start (historically improbable).


Explore more on this #sundaysgospel with Kieran J. O’Mahony OSA.
Click HERE for You Tube discussion.
Click HERE for text notes.
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