We are continuing in our journey through the gospel of John and the next story we are given is about Jesus upturning the tables and getting angry at the Temple in Jerusalem.
Now I can hear you saying, “hang on, that doesn’t happen until just before Easter”, but in John it happens right at the beginning. Remember what I said about how it is about what the stories and signs tell us rather than the order they actually appear in the gospel.
So, what does this story tell us about Jesus? Clearly Jesus was upset about what was going on. This space was no longer set aside for community or prayer but had become a market place for the trading of goods and money. To offer the right sacrifice it was necessary to have pure or unblemished animals, to give an offering it was necessary to have temple money not Roman coins, so this market place in Temple was originally there to help the Jews meet their Temple requirements.
This is one of the very rare occasions where we see Jesus angry. It comes along way from the image of Jesus, meek and mild that we sometimes get given. Personally, I love that Jesus got angry, I get angry too. What this story tells me is that this anger over mistreatment, injustice, manipulation and abuse is important to display. We need to stand up against these things and sometimes the only way we can be heard is to be angry. See how many of the leaders of the Temple came running!
But I think there is something else in this story. Jesus came to do away with the old way of institutional religion and he was to be the new covenant with God, he came to show and share the love of God, and so what was going on in the Temple had to change.
Jesus is clearing the way for a new relationship with God, gone is the need to offer sacrifices – Jesus will do this on the cross. Christ’s ministry is beginning and everything is going to change.
Rev Jay Robinson
(03) 9568 8177
117 Murrumbeena Road, Murrumbeena, VIC, 3163