Third Sunday in Lent 07 03 21
Gospel: John 2. 13-22
John’s Gospel after narrating the wonderful event at the wedding at Cana of Galilee where Jesus turned water into wine now draws our attention to Jesus in Jerusalem at the temple. It was a busy time in the temple as people were coming from all over to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover festival.
Jesus turns up and is quite upset with what he was seeing. He found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices. Cattle, Sheep and Doves had become essential for worship as they were needed for sacrificial offerings to God. Those days whatever prayer intention people had, it needed to be accompanied with a sacrificial offering. Prayer by itself was not seen to be adequate.
Jesus saw the money-changers seated at their tables, who were currency convertors. People were using Roman coins and such coins had the image of the emperor and therefore such coins were seen as unacceptable to God so these currency convertors will change the money and they therefore have become a necessity at that time.
Jesus is visibly upset and very angry that such commercial activities have become so central in the temple. He was so angry that he made a whip of cords, and 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!’
This event is placed by John in the beginning of the Gospel while other Gospel writers place this event in the end.
The Gospel of John finds in this episode the work of Jesus the messiah, whose work is to build a living relationship between God and people. Prayer and worship play a very important role in enabling this communion with God. The work of Messiah is to cleanse the temple, redefine worship and bringing prayer as the central function of the temple.
In this season of Lent, we are reminded that we are the temple of the living God and we look up to Jesus to guide us to see all that hinders our prayer and help us to remove them so that our soul will constantly be always connected to God in prayer.