Our Gospel this week is John 2:13-22, taken today from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
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 marketplace!” 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.
This passage causes confusion to many because it seems out of character for Jesus as we know Him. We remember “gentle Jesus, meek and mild”, not the agitated man we see here. Why is Jesus so angry about this?
The temple was supposed to be the place where people came to be with God, and make Him the focus of their lives. Instead, there are a variety of people making money from the process of worship. This is what has Jesus upset – these things are distracting people from offering their praise and thanks as well as dishonoring God’s house.
Jesus is saddened by this worldly intrusion in what should be a sacred space. He tells us that when we come to spend time with God, that should be all we think about. Anything that leads us away from worship is wrong.
Heavenly Father, forgive us when we are distracted and fail to devote time to You. Help us to know the blessing of being connected, giving You our full attention and receiving Your love. Amen.