The Significance of Jesus Cleansing the Temple, Prepared by Rev. John Kwasi Fosu


Text: John 2:13-25

John 2:13-25 records the first account of Jesus cleansing the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. In this occasion, Jesus found those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money-changers in the temple. Making a whip of cords, Jesus drove them all out of the temple including the sheep and oxen. Jesus also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He then told those who sold doves to take them away in order not to make his Father’s (God’s) house a house of trade.

Why did Jesus Clean the Temple? (John 2:13-16)
Some reasons that explain Jesus’ action include:

1. Jesus clearly cleansed the temple because those selling pigeons, sheep, and oxen were doing so as a business rather than as a spiritual service. God’s law demanded that God’s people bring animal offerings at the temple during Passover. Because many Jews came from long distances for this event, it became common for Jews to bring money and then buy animals when in Jerusalem. Sellers then began profiting from the system. This misuse of the temple system of worship was what angered Jesus.
2. Those doing business in the outer courts of the temple destroyed the only place where Gentiles could come and worship. This area (the court of the Gentiles) was made into a house of merchandise.
3. It is worthy of note that cleansing was part of the Passover celebration. And so removing every speck of anything leavened (made with yeast) from the home was a symbol, a picture, of cleansing from sin. Significantly, John began with a miracle of conversion (changing water into wine). Then he showed Jesus performing a work of cleansing (the cleansing of the temple). This always portrays how Jesus works in His people: conversion first, then cleansing.

Consumed by the Zeal of the Lord’s house (John 2:17-25)
The above action of Jesus proved who Jesus was as the Messiah. Jesus’ disciple associated this event with Psalm 69:9 understanding Jesus as the Messiah. Zeal has to do with passion, energy, and devotion. Thus, Jesus’ passion for the purity of the temple became clear.

Jesus cleansed the temple showing his rejection of the distortions of temple worship. He also made His public claim of his authority over those in the temple. Jesus ultimately proved His role as Messiah through His death and resurrection from the dead in this same area of Jerusalem.

1. To what extent can you relate the commercial activities in the temple to the selling of anointing oil in some contemporary churches?
2. Explain two reasons that justify Jesus’ actions of cleansing the temple.
3. Are there any thing in your personal life and in the life of the Church as temple(s) of Christ that you need to clean?
4. In what ways are you consumed by the zeal of the Lord’s house?

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