March 11, 2012: 3rd Sunday of Lent
Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well. (John 2:13-25)
This is one of the few places in Scripture where we see Jesus angry. And he is really angry with the money changers and the people selling animals in the temple grounds! So he drove them out of the temple and spilled their money on the ground and told them to stop making His Father’s house a marketplace! Since no one there knew that Jesus was God, can you imagine what they were thinking when He told them that this was His Father’s house? When I read this, I always think that Jesus comes to life as a human being in a very special way.
Perhaps the best thing for you to do today is to think–and maybe talk with someone–about how you felt when you read this gospel passage. Did it change your image of Jesus? Did you think of Him as always a gentle person, a quiet person? Here he is angry–almost out of control. I think this passage can help us understand the deep human emotions of Jesus, who only wants what is good for all of us. Can you imagine how He felt when He saw the Temple, a place of prayer and honor to His Father, being ruined by people who used it only to make money for themselves?