Seeking the Lord of the Temple- 3rd Sunday in Lent- John 2: 13-25

This episode of cleansing of the temple is placed right at the beginning of John’s Gospel immediately after the wedding feast of Cana. This is quite different from the synoptic Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark and Luke) who place the incident at the end of Jesus’ ministry and as one of the inevitable consequences of Jesus’ death.

John also adds many more details to the incident. He will write about “sheep and oxen” along with the doves. He has Jesus make a whip out of chord and then turns to address the dove sellers separately as he overturns theirs tables too. In John’s Gospel, it will be the raising of Lazarus that sets in motion the last nail of hatred in the intention of the Jews to put Jesus to death. So why does this evangelist narrate this incident so differently from the other three?

John wants to make a point. We are told that the occasion for Jesus presence in the temple is the Passover. It is but natural that the activities of commerce will go hand in hand with the activity of religion. The Jews of the diaspora and the Jews in the area were not allowed to bring in any graven image into the temple and the coinage at that time had the head of Caesar on it. Thus the official currency had to be exchanged for the Jewish shekel and a fee was involved. This explained the presence of the money changers.

Much has also been said about the presence of the sellers of sheep, oxen or doves that were used for the sacrifice. These birds and animals had to be without blemish and it is held that many of the priests were in connivance with the sellers to sanction only the purchase of sacrificial animals from within the temple, as fit for sacrifice.

Spread the love ♥
Continue Reading