|Gospel||John 2:13-22 ©|
Just before the Jewish Passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and pigeons, and the money changers sitting at their counters there. Making a whip out of some cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well, scattered the money changers’ coins, knocked their tables over and said to the pigeon-sellers, ‘Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a market.’ Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: Zeal for your house will devour me. The Jews intervened and said, ‘What sign can you show us to justify what you have done?’ Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this sanctuary: are you going to raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the words he had said.
In the Synoptic gospels, the cleansing of the temple happens in the last week of Jesus’ life. This precipitates Jesus’s condemnation as he is seen by the religious authorities as a threat to the temple. In John, zeal for the holiness of God’s house pushes Jesus to cleanse it of people who turn it to to marketplace. But it will cost him his life, just as figures of the past who were committed to the honor of God were persecuted: Phinehas (Nm 25:11), Elijah (1 Kgs 19:10), Mattathias ( 1 Mc 2:24-26). But the temple is now being replaced by the person of Jesus. Jesus does not just cleanse it; he replaces it with the temple of his body. Israel relates to God through its temple. The time has come for believers to relate to God through Jesus who is risen from the dead.