After the wedding, Jesus and his guys go to spend a few days with His Mom in Capernaum. Passover is coming so Jesus goes up to Jerusalem. It really is “up” because Jerusalem is on a hill. When Jesus gets to the outer court of the Temple He is livid at what He finds.
…he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 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. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
How did this “house of trade” get started in the first place and why did it upset Him? First, the Jews would not accept Roman money at the Temple so the money changers set up benches to exchange currencies. These early bankers would have served a practical purpose if they weren’t so corrupt – charging high fees to swap whatever came along to shekels and then charging the priests to swap them back to Roman money. Along with the banking “convenience” came the vendors who sold “sacrifice suitable” animals! All of them were making a greedy profit off those who came to worship at the Temple. (I think Jesus was furious all this was being done “in the name of worshiping God”!)
His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me” (Ps 69:9). The disciples were well read in the Jewish Scriptures and even early on in Jesus’ ministry they are seeing the connections between Him and what has been written of Him.
The Jews think He should explain Himself by way of a sign. Seems like they just had a sign of something but that’s how these guys roll. Jesus is happy to oblige: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” They don’t get it. “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” It is striking to me that when they ask Him for a sign they expect it to be some run of the mill thing that just anyone could manage. Jesus just made wine out of water with no dirt, growing time or even grapes. Forty-six years is nothing – including not the point!
But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 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. Another point for the disciples! (God will use Scripture in my life and confirm His plans and His person through it. I want to be so familiar with it that God can remind me of the connections.)
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. Many believed when they saw the signs. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. Jesus knew how fickle people can be. We like the show and the drama and the glamour. I think some of these people probably made it past the cut but Jesus was wise in not betting the bank on all of them. (Here is a cautionary tale – don’t trust the quality of “believing” that comes from a purely emotional response. Time will tell.)
God is zealous about His name and how He is to be worshipped.
God speaks through His words – they are life and understanding to the one who believes.
About the World?
Don’t consider it wise to try to make money off of God’s people. You’re looking for a world of hurt.