Jesus drives the Moneylenders
from the Temple
- John. 2.13-22
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!" His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me." The Jews then said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After 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.
Expulsion of dealers
he Temple dominated the hilltop on which Jerusalem was built. There had been a Temple in Jerusalem since the time of Solomon nearly a thousand years before the birth of Jesus. Just before his birth Herod the Great had extended a huge platform to support the great project he had undertaken of rebuilding the Temple.
It took a long time to build. AsJohn’s gospel says: "this temple has been under construction for forty-six years." In fact it was hardly finished when it was destroyed by the Romans around 70 AD.
In the time of Jesus the temple was a hive of activity and big business. People had to offer unblemished animals for sacrifice in the Temple. Rather than bring their own which could be declared unclean by the priests they bought animals from the traders at the Temple. Money had also to be changed because the offerings acceptable at the Temple were not received in the local currency but in the "hard" currency of the time – that of the booming economy of the city of Tyre up the coast from Israel.
Jesus cut through all the wheeling and dealing that was going on at the Temple – disgusted, as John’s gospel puts it, at the fact that his "Father’s house" was being made into a market place. John’s gospel places the event at the beginning of the gospel to show that right through his ministry zeal for the Father would consume Jesus. John’s gospel also makes the point that the new place where the presence of God was to be found in the world was no longer in the Temple but in the person of Jesus.
The other gospels place the story at the end of the ministry of Jesus, just before the Passion. From their point of view Jesus, by calling into question the business activity of the Temple, upset the authorities who ran the Temple and profited from the trade. This then became the inevitable cause of his death.
Model of the Temple is from BiblePlaces.Com Driving the Money Lenders from the Temple by El Greco
and the Sower are from "CC-Art.com"
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries