Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Day 15-March 12
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After 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.
Get ready to experience a trend in the days to come. Today, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we’ll look at the same text (John 2:13-22- the story of Jesus “cleansing” the temple from four different perspectives. Various commentators treat this text for the third Sunday in Lent from theological (what does this passage say about God?), pastoral (what does this passage say to the believer?), exegetical (how does one read this text historically?) and homiletical (what are the preaching themes in this text?) perspectives. While they’re not mutually exclusive, we can certainly tease out these four themes…at least for this week!
So, theologically…this passage, found in John, occurs directly after the first of seven signs in John’s gospel that speak to the revelation of God’s glory found in Christ. The first sign reported is Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana (John 2:11) John places this story of the cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry as a dramatic way of describing Jesus as Calvin (happy 500th birthday!!!) as a prophet, priest and king. Setting things right, “cleansing” the temple was one of the ways John understood Jesus as coming to do something very new…and radical. Do you think about Jesus as a prophet? What prophetic words of his rock your world? What prophetic words of Jesus prompt you to live differently in the world?
Loving God, you are always calling us to reform and reshape our lives, according to your Word. Help us, with believing hearts, to listen to your voice in scripture and respond in faithful ways. Amen.
Art: The cross. Interesting children's art found here.