Cleansing the temple

From Capernaum Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover (John 2:13). When he visited the temple he found that its outer court (the Court of the Gentiles) was crowded with Jewish merchants and money changers. The merchants were selling animals for sacrifice, and the money changers were exchanging foreign money for money acceptable to the temple authorities. The place looked more like a market than a place of prayer. Jesus was so angry at what he saw that he took bold action to cleanse the temple of all commercial activity (John 2:14-16).

The Jews objected to Jesus’ interfering with the temple and challenged him to perform some miracle as evidence that he had authority from God to act in such a way. Jesus referred to the sign of his resurrection as his authority, but no one understood its meaning at the time. Jesus knew that because of his zeal for the purity of God’s house the Jews would eventually kill him, but he would rise from the dead and bring in a new era of life for the world (John 2:17-22).

At that time few had a genuine belief in Jesus as Saviour. Many said they believed in him but their faith was not soundly based. They were impressed with Jesus’ miracles, but had little idea of what was involved in being disciples of the Messiah. Jesus could not trust people to be loyal followers if their ‘belief’ in him was little more than enthusiasm for his spectacular deeds (John 2:23-25).

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