“Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise” (John 2:16).
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).
Here we find Jesus in conflict with the entrepreneurs of the temple in Jerusalem. Some of them sold both large and small animals, such as oxen and doves, to those wishing to acquire something that they might sacrifice on the altar, and others exchanged foreign money for local money, probably extracting more profit than was fair from their customers.
In Psalm 69:9, we find what may be a prophecy concerning this event, as David wrote, “For zeal for Thy house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me.” Jesus’s disciples remember this psalm when Jesus admonishes those who are profaning the temple; this is mentioned only by John.
Is not Jesus meek and mild? He prefers to be, but we cannot stereotype Him. His demeanor is appropriate for the situation in which He finds Himself. The situation in the temple demands confrontation and action, and He is eager to oblige, partly because He is angry. Jesus overturns the tables of the animal peddlers and empties the coin sacks of the money changers, probably landing a few blows to some backs with the scourge that He made of cords.
After all of this, the Jews present ask for a sign, apparently to justify His actions, and Jesus responds with a profound, though figurative, statement. He tells the Jews that if they were to destroy “this temple,” He would raise it in three days.
The Jews are incredulous and ask Him how he could raise up something in three days that had taken forty-six years to build, but the temple of which Jesus speaks is His body. He is predicting His death and resurrection. Notice how He could think on His feet, coming up with a profound reply on the spur of the moment while under pressure.
Jewish religious authorities later used His statement for their own purposes, accusing Him of saying He was going to destroy the temple of worship in Jerusalem. After Jesus had resurrected, His disciples remembered what He had said about raising the temple of His body in three days, and they marveled.
Prayer: Thank You so much, Lord Jesus, that You gift us with a unique faith that is so clear and logical and that promises us eternal life where we may explore the mind of God in a mode of pure joy. In Your name, we pray. Amen