Saturday 28 June 2014

Bible Book:

“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (v. 19)

John 2:13-25 Saturday 28 June 2014


In the three other Gospels in the New Testament this story isset at the end of Jesus' ministry rather than at the beginning, soit is interesting to reflect on why  this version of the storyis placed here in John's Gospel.

The temple was at the very heart of Judaism. There was only onetemple and it was the focus for many important aspects of Jewishlife and culture and the place where God had promised to live amongthe chosen people. It was also a place where animals were boughtand sold for sacrifice and alongside this particular trade a hugemarketplace had developed. It was a noisy, dirty, smelly placewhere crowds jostled.

Into this scene walked Jesus, who literally turned everythingupside down (verse 15). He was furious about how the temple wasbeing used as a place commerce and trade. Not because there isanything wrong with trading, the problem was that the marketplacehad taken over and the people had lost sight of the temple as God'sdwelling place.

So what does all of this mean and why does John tell this storyhere? It is Passover time (verse 13), the time when the Jewscelebrate their liberation from slavery in Egypt. John's Gospel hasalready told us that Jesus is God's Passover lamb (Exodus1:29-34) so there is a hint to the readers that Jesus is givingnew meaning to Passover. This Passover lamb will bring freedom fromslavery to sin and death to all God's people, through his death thecross and his resurrection.

When the furious temple officials challenge Jesus and ask himwhat he is doing, he gives an intriguing response and in this hehints at his own death and resurrection (verses 18-22). Jesus issaying that he is the true temple, the place where God is becauseGod is the Word (John 1:1), and he is the Word made flesh.John's Gospel is helping us to see Jesus' life through the lens ofhis death. This clue, put down near to the beginning of John'sGospel, is key to understanding who Jesus is.

To Ponder

  • This is a very familiar story for many. As you read it thistime and reflect on it, what are you noticing for the firsttime?
  • What does Jesus' image of himself as the temple say to you as aperson living in the 21st century?
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