Jesus Clears the Temple
BSF Study of John 2:13-17 ~ John Lesson 3 Day 3
6 Jesus and His disciples traveled to Jerusalem to observe the Passover festival.
Passover is the most solemn time of the year for the Jews. The temple in Jerusalem was their holiest site.
Commerce in the temple
In remembrance of the day God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt, each family was to sacrifice a healthy one-year-old lamb or goat. Many of the families traveled a long distance to Jerusalem. Instead of bringing a lamb or goat, they sometimes bought a pre-approved one in site. If they picked their best animal, it could get injured en route or be rejected for some other reason.
It’s also possible the priests made it difficult to get your own animal approved, so Passover attendees didn’t bother bringing one.
These vendors could charge pilgrims inflated prices for animals designated for sacrifice because OT law forbade the use of animals with blemishes or defects (Deut 17:1 etc.), and the religious leaders had dictated even more stringent requirements. For example, they ruled that a blemish on an eyelid disqualified an animal for sacrifice (according to the Talmud). (A note in the Amplified version in reference to the temple cleansing in Mark 11:15)
This passage gave the Jews permission to convert their tithe of produce etc. into money, then buy whatever they want to eat or drink after they arrived at the meeting place. (Puts the tithe in a different light, doesn’t it?)
7 Jesus’ anger
Jesus loves what the Father loves and hates what the Father hates. (Proverbs 8:13)
These merchants were selling these animals for use in sacrifice at the temple. Therefore, they were doing a good thing in the wrong place and in the wrong manner. The end does not justify the means. There is a right and wrong way and time for doing things. (Andrew Wommack)
Jesus didn’t just lose His temper. He took the time to put together a whip out of leather strips. He drove the vendors out because they had turned the outer court into a shopping mall. Or more like the shops in an airport. The pilgrims had no other option but to exchange their foreign money for whatever they could get from the thieves and pay their inflated prices. Jesus drove them out because it was the right thing to do.
He also cleansed the temple again the last week before His crucifixion. (Matthew 21:12) I found another view on this topic that hadn’t occurred to me.
Jesus’ problem with the sellers, money changers, and buyers was their faith. I get this from the two references Jesus makes in his condemnation. “Den of robbers” comes from Jeremiah 7:11 and “house of prayer for all the nations”(from the incident recorded in Mark comes from Isaiah 56. Neither of these passages have anything to do with money. As Josh points out, “condemns those who murder, commit adultery and perjury, worship and follow other gods. These people then go to the temple and try to say that they are safe.” This means that Jesus condemned the people (who) make these offerings then continue on in their wicked ways expecting that they are delivered. People were offering to God for personal gain and not faith, this was for the sellers, money changers, and buyers. Isaiah 56 praises the faith and obedience of foreigners. God’s temple was to be a house for the faithful and those who serve God both from Israel and the foreigner. The problem was that the people who were there were not faithful, serving God, or keeping the Lord’s commands. Instead, they were coming and making offerings to God at the temple for their own deliverance, then returning to their corrupt and wicked ways. Thus, they were making the “house of prayer for all nations” into a “den of robbers”. Ty Cook
8 a. Passion for God’s house will consume me.
Psalm 69:9 is the Old Testament verse quoted in John 2:17.
Ezekiel 44:7-8 is a reference about defiling God’s house. In the New Covenant, we as believers are God’s house.
b. Jesus took His first step toward fulfilling the prophecy in Malachi 3:1-4.
“He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.” (NLT)
God hates corrupt religious leaders who take advantage of others to satisfy their own lust, greed, and desire for power.
MY answers—not THE answers—to BSF study questions on John Lesson 3 Day 3