“The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.” (John 2:13 – 14)
I like to imagine Jesus entering the temple and seeing the obvious commerce going on. Composing himself, he braids together some rope and sets about “tidying” his “Abba / Father’s” house.
“Making 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. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” (Verses 15 – 16)
I emphasis the part about composing himself. This was not an eruption of aggression and violence. This is a break and decisive gap between the prophets major & minor “venting” about the wrath of the Lord God, and the Divine who sent Jesus.
“His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (Verse 17)
We turn now from Jesus’ disciplining to his teaching and foreshadowing.
“The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” (Verse 18)
I guess this is another way of asking, “On what authority are you/did you do this?” What follows is, actually, not so “plain speaking”. That is, Jesus had his frame of reference, and the Jews assumed another frame of reference.
“Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body.” (Verses 19 – 21)
The writer of the gospel of John knows this how? I mean, it does make sense. But how does John know – what inside knowledge does he have? The answer to that question could be a puzzle or mystery. What I suspect is that at some point Jesus explained what he meant, or through the guidance of the Holy Presence the author of the gospel of John and the other apostles came to understand these things. We who live out our Christian lives are inheritors of exegesis and commentary, so we have a foundation and an understanding of theology. Or, we may also have been guided by the Holy Presence. When I talk about “plain speaking” (which has been an overarching theme) part of that is direct and straightforward speech, and part is what is absorbed and revealed by biblical study and meditation.
“After 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.” (Verse 22)
We too are disciples of Jesus Christ and the Divine. We too remember what the Divine has revealed to us, what has been taught to us, and what we have come to believe. So foundational is that it seems very plain to us. We must never forget, however, how fortunate we are that our forebearers and teachers have passed this on to us. And that the Divine has quickened and supported our spirituality. Let us determine to pass on this understanding to others, and commit ourselves to spend our lives learn more about faith and our Creator. Shalom & Selah!