The Expository Files


The Scourging of the Temple in Jerusalem

John 2:13-22
3 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.
15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;
16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business."
17 His disciples remembered that it was written, "ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME."
18 The Jews then said to Him, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?"
19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
20 The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

Many would describe this episode as uncharacteristic of Jesus. They would be wrong. It is because of His character that the event happened... twice.

Jesus possessed a great zeal for His Father's business. God's purpose was dear to Him. There was nothing closer to His heart. What He confronted that day was neither pleasing to the Father or good for any human being.

Zeal for His Father's house is seen in Jesus' cleansing of the temple. Note that this is the first Passover following the beginning of Jesus' ministry. This helps us to know the length of His ministry (3 years). Also, He began His ministry at age 30, (Luke 3:23)so we know His age at the time of His death.

Verse 17 provides some food for thought as it quotes the 69th Psalm, verse 9. The Psalm is remembered by the disciples who witnessed Jesus' anger and
action . What does this suggest to you about Jesus' presence? One thing it does is that it shows that Jesus' disciples are already seeing Jesus linked somehow to the Messiah, or Christ, because the 69th Psalm has several powerful Messianic features in it. In addition to verse 9; there are also these:

v. 4 - JOHN 15:24-25 They hated Me without cause
v. 8 - JOHN 7:3-5 I have become estranged from my brothers
v. 9 - JOHN 2:17 For zeal for Your house has consumed me,
v. 21 - MATT 27:34; 48 They also gave me gall for my food And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
v. 22 - ROM 11:9-10 May their table before them become a snare; And when they are in peace, may it become a trap.

The zeal is manifested by Jesus' driving out the temple with the scourge He made from cords. Also, His words: John 2:16 "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business." The Lord's house had become a money-maker for some. It ought not to have been - then or now. Such use, or perhaps more correctly, abuse of the Lord's purpose was something that drove Jesus to make this very forceful challenge to the occupiers of the temple. Sometimes it is with quizzical looks that people ponder why we do not engage the Lord's House (please note that the "house" I now refer to is God's spiritual house of the New Covenant - the church - made up of living stones)in similar activities. The answer is not complicated. It does not need to be. To put it simply, we do not because such activity makes Jesus angry.


By Jon W. Quinn
The Final Page
From Expository Files 20.1 January 2013