Spring Cleaning: Reflections on John 2:13-22
It's not that what the moneychangers were doing was wrong, but what they were doing would no longer be necessary in the new order Jesus had come to bring. This passage, says John scholar Andrew Lincoln, "looks forward to the Day of the Lord and to God's presence in a renewed Jerusalem. At that time all nations will keep the Feast of Tabernacles and there will be no need for traders in the house of the Lord. The trading associated with the sacrificial system will not be necessary, because in the end-time worship of Yahweh as king all aspects of life will have become sacred" (Lincoln, 138).
In that time, we will have a new temple, Jesus' crucified and resurrected body. John 2: 18-21 connects the Temple with Jesus' crucified and resurrected body, which has become our new Temple. "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up," says Jesus. John uses the verb eyeiro—"to raise up"—rather than Mark and Matthew's "oikodomeo"—to build or rebuild (Lincoln 139).
I mentioned at the outset that I am not at all pleased with the performance of the woman whose job it is to clean my house. But after studying this passage, rather than judge her and her superficial cleaning methods, I think I'll get her some help. Clearly, she needs the help of someone who knows how to deep clean a house. She needs Jesus Christ to create in her a clean heart and to put a new and right spirit within her.
We do well to echo the words of penitent King David during the remaining days of Lent: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean," says David in Psalm 51:7. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me" (51:10).
Soul Feast, Marjorie Thompson
The Gospel According to Saint John, Andrew T. Lincoln
Alyce M. McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.