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Cleansing of the temple



John 2:13-25


Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.

While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. 24But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, 25and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.



Zeal for the father’s house consumes Jesus. The Gospel narrates Jesus’ emotional, angry (if you will) reaction to the scene he has witnessed in the Temple, the house of God and house of encounter with God for the Jews. Scenes that one expects to see only in marketplaces meet his eyes. And so his emotions are stirred, and he begins to drive away the vendors and the money changers. It is not that they are not to be seen around the Temple area, for animal and money offerings are expected to be readily available. But what stirs his anger is that the sellers and money changers have invaded parts of the Temple that are held sacred ground. This shows, therefore, a lack of understanding and respect for the Temple on the part of the merchants whose minds are driven by profit.

“Zeal for your house will consume me.” This verse (cf Ps 69:10) describes Jesus’ reaction. Jesus is passionate for the things of his Father. In his boyhood he said something similar, also in the Temple: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:49). His food is to do the will of him who sent him (cf Jn 4:34). His passion is to accomplish his Father’s work. In contrast, many people in his time are so desirous of making money that they lose respect even for the house of God.

Jesus’ reaction teaches us that we have to respect the nature and essence of places. Churches or temples are intended for prayer, for encounter with God, for listening to God’s word. Hence, they are to be kept free from disturbance and disorder, and people who enter them are expected to observe silence and proper decorum in conduct and apparel.


SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail:; Website:

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