Good morning, happy Monday, and many blessings.
Let me share a bit of Gospel background for today: John 2:13-22. The “temple” of our text is the temple in Jerusalem. It was not the first temple, built by Solomon (see 1 Kings 6-7), nor the second temple, rebuilt by the Jews returning from their Babylonian captivity (Ezra 6:15).105 It was the third temple, known as “Herod’s Temple.” This temple was built by Herod, not so much to facilitate Israel’s worship, but as an attempt to reconcile the Jews to their Idumaean king. Construction of this temple began in 19 B.C. and continued for 46 years. The temple was largely complete in the time of our Lord, but was fully completed a mere 6 years before it was destroyed in 70 A.D. Perhaps it did not have the glory of the first temple built by Solomon, but it must have exceeded the beauty and splendor of the second temple (compare Ezra 3:12; Mark 13:1).
This strong action of Jesus can surprise us. The sale of animals and the work of the moneychangers are associated with sacrificial offerings to Yahweh. Jesus saw that they had gone too far and that the business aspect was overriding the true purpose of the temple which was prayer and worship.
In his conversation Jesus spoke of himself as being the temple of God. Paul reminds us that we too are the temple of God. This can easily be forgotten if the commercial element of our lives takes precedence.
The temple was the center of Jewish life. Jesus is not against the temple but is against what the temple has become: a marketplace and than a place of worship. For Jesus, the temple was the place to worship the Father. The Father who loves everybody equally and whose love could not be bought.
Sometimes we can enter into negotiations with God. I might say: ‘if you do this for me, I will do that for you’. I can easily turn my relationship with God into a type of transaction. When I spend time in prayer, do I seek God, or do I seek what he can give me? I spend a few minutes now just focusing on God without any agenda, just in his company.
Also, the Temple represents the location and the presence of God. Jesus declares that a new Temple will be found in his own resurrected body. Instead of God’s presence being confined to a single geographical site, God will be everywhere, making all things and all time potentially sacred.
‘We are the temple of God in the world’, wrote St Paul. Have we really grasped this colossal reality that we are a living temple, in which the Word of God is eternally spoken? Today I pray: ‘Jesus, you got really angry in the temple! Are there things about me that make you angry? My heart is your temple: do I clutter it up so much that there is little space for you?’