15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple,[a] and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore 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. John 2:15 – 22 (ESV)
The Temple was the center for worship, it was not “just another church” it was symbolic of the epicenter
for all religious worship of God in Israel. When Jesus saw the money changers, they infuriated Him
because there was profiteering going on in the Sacred Temple. The Temple was for worship and
cleansing of sin but now it had become a place that harbored sin and evil. The Temple had become the
antithesis of what it was intended to be.
Jesus angrily declares, “do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” Theologian D.A. Carson
writes, “Jesus’ complaint is not that they are guilty of sharp business practices and should therefore reform their ethical life, but that they shouldn’t be there at all.” Jesus’ response and actions could have easily incited a riot and it could have turned out bad for all. There were huge profits being made during this time and Jesus was demanding for it to stop.
The religious leaders respond in an unusual way, instead of having him arrested for this outbreak of
violence, they ask Jesus for a sign to justify his display of authority. The fact that they asked Jesus for a
sign shows they knew He was more than an ordinary person, they probably thought Jesus was a prophet or even possibly the Messiah. They were looking for Jesus to perform some supernatural sign to prove that He had the authority to drive out the money changers and salesmen.
Jesus responds, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” This was an outrageous claim.
The leaders said, “It took 46 years to build the Temple and you claim you can rebuild it in three days?” I
find it ironic that they were asking for a supernatural sign and Jesus said He would, and they were livid by
his response. Of course, destroying and rebuilding the Temple in three days could only happen
Jesus was not referring to the physical temple in Israel, as we know now. He was talking about the
spiritual Temple, the body. His body is the Temple that will be destroyed and in three days it will be fully
restored and alive once again. Jesus informs the leaders that the time of the temple was ending, and He is
now the new and true Temple. Through His death and resurrection there is no need for a Temple,
because Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the sacrificial system will no longer be necessary.
1 Carson, D.A. (1991) The Gospel According to John p. 179 Grand Rapids, MI: William B Eerdman’s Publishing Co.
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