Happy Friday friends! I must apologize for the late posting time. Yesterday was crazy – my father in law was sent to the ER and is now waiting for surgery. Please pray for his health and quick recovery. Then, I had to take Evelyn to the pediatrician for what we thought could have been an allergy, and thankfully was only dry skin (we hope). So needless to say I have been a bit frazzled. Such is life as a mom.
This week we read John 2:13-25…
Cleansing of the Temple
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. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.
I have to admit, I had to google the meaning of this passage because woah. While the meaning is clear – Jesus is alluding to His own crucifixion as resurrection, I knew there had to be more in these verses that I was missing. And I was right. So off to google I went. (no shame)
I found this article by Stephen Beale, author at Catholic Exchange, The Deeper Meaning of the Story of Jesus and the Moneychangers. Beale explains the importance behind the mentioning of the animals. Why mention them if they didn’t carry a significance? This is something that St Augustine explain’s in a sermon on John 2. “For you know, beloved, that sacrifices were given to that people, in consideration of the carnal mind and stony heart yet in them, to keep them from falling away to idols: and they offered there for sacrifices oxen, sheep, and doves: you know this, for you have read it. It was not a great sin, then, if they sold in the temple that which was bought for the purpose of offering in the temple: and yet He cast them out thence.” “As we have already implied, the expulsion of the beasts symbolized the new order of worship whose temple will have no sacrificial rite. If we do not understand the expulsion as a symbolic act, we have no reason for it since the animals were necessary and were not in themselves an abuse of the temple’s sanctity. Their removal was meant to symbolize the end of mediation toward God by sacrifice; the Mosaic system was not condemned but rather it was displaced as a result of its being superseded by the presence of Jesus.”
Finally it clicked – as many stories in the Gospel, they speak of fulfilled promises given to the Jews in the Old Testament. Christ came to fulfill the Old Covenant and establish the New Covenant, replacing Mosaic Law.
As Beale concludes, “Read in light of this interpretation, the text makes more sense. Just as Jesus was the new temple, who would be ‘destroyed’ and ‘rebuilt’ in three days, so also He was the new Lamb of God slain for our sins. The scourging itself then becomes another symbolic act that foreshadows the Passion of Jesus.”
I love that now-a-days we have the ability to find those more learned in scripture with a simple click of a mouse (if you still use a mouse…), especially when scripture isn’t always the most easily understood. Sometimes there are deeper meanings that your over tired, stressed out mom brain misses.
I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this reading. On another note, how do y’all feel about having different guest posters for the Faithful Friday Series? Since I am hoping this can turn into a bigger discussion, I feel it would be nice to have different reflections each week.
Let me know in the comments!