It was almost time for the Passover Festival, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. There in the Temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and pigeons, and also the moneychangers sitting at their tables. So he made a whip from cords and drove all the animals out of the Temple, both the sheep and the cattle; he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and scattered their coins; and he ordered those who sold the pigeons, “Take them out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that the scripture says, “My devotion to your house, O God, burns in me like a fire.”
The Jewish authorities came back at him with a question, “What miracle can you perform to show us that you have the right to do this?”
Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple, and in three days I will build it again.”
“Are you going to build it again in three days?” they asked him. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple!”
But the temple Jesus was speaking about was his body. So when he was raised from death, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what Jesus had said.
While Jesus was in Jerusalem during the Passover Festival, many believed in him as they saw the miracles he performed. But Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew them all. There was no need for anyone to tell him about them, because he himself knew what was in their hearts.
THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE
Jesus’ actions against the money changers in the Temple were probably what sealed his fate in the minds of the Sanhedrin, the governing council of the Jews. These actions were direct affronts to their authority, and they were violent. The great anger of Jesus was fueled by their failure to serve the people properly, and even more by their corruption of the Temple from a place of worship into a marketplace. Jesus reacted violently to the pangs of these wrongs, and this led his watching disciples to think of the passage, “My devotion to your house, O God, burns in me like a fire.” This passage is from Psalm 69; it is a song of a persecuted man. Can you imagine how angry and how determined Jesus was? For John tells us he personally and purposely fashioned a whip from cords to set upon the money changers!
He reveals the highly intense, focused and disruptive sides of his nature. But always, a nature focused on justice and what is right.