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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday Sept 17th: John 2.13-25

Benardino Mei: 1655 Cleansing of the Temple 
You can see this
at the J.Paul Getty!
 John 2.13-2513The 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, both 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.

23When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. 24But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.

Thoughts:  Some people don't like this story about Jesus, a snorting, angry Jesus who makes whips and drives people out of the temple.  This probably stems from our own uncomfortableness with anger.  But there is such a thing as righteous anger, and that is exactly what Jesus is displaying.  The Temple was supposed to be a place of prayer and where one finds the presence of God.  Instead, at least on that day according to Jesus, the Temple looked more like a place of crooked commerce and shady deals.   Did you notice that John has this story of the cleansing of the Temple here in the beginning of his Gospel?  The other three Gospel writers have it at the end of their gospels and a leading component of Holy Week--not John.  John has much that contradicts the other three Gospels.  But we must remember that John is not interested in writing a biography of Jesus; but of bringing you to faith.  He freely relocates a story if it suits his agenda of helping to tell the bigger story of who Jesus is.
One final thought.  There is a little verse that I find to be very sobering.  Verse 24 reminds us that Jesus knowing all people would not entrust himself to them.  Wow.  That is really the full force of the law.  We are in need of the Holy Spirit to help us be transformed, otherwise our wills remain in bondage to sin and Jesus knows full well where that will lead--away from the father.
Your thoughts:  What about this passage surprises you?  Since Jesus is without sin what does that say about least some anger?   What do you think Jesus means by connecting his body/himself to the Temple?

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