Thursday, March 05, 2015
Nobody Left but Jesus
THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE
"What sign can you show us for doing this?"
Nobody Left but Jesus
The Gospel for this Sunday (see below) is from the Gospel according to John. It is John's telling of the story about Jesus going into the Temple in Jerusalem and disrupting and driving out those who did the business of exchanging Roman coins, considered impure, for Temple coins that were acceptable for giving to God. He also drove out those who were selling animals for sacrifice. Both of these practices were needed to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims who came to the Temple to worship.
I would like to suggest a visual that might help us understand the power and significance of this action. When Jesus concludes his work of cleansing the Temple there are no sacrificial animals or birds left to be sacrificed and there are no coins to be exchanged. It is Jesus and Jesus alone who stands in the Temple. By doing what he did, Jesus becomes the only sacrifice left in the Temple and the economic system of support for the Temple is overturned.
Does this image of Jesus standing alone in the Temple move you? Does it cause you to reflect on our cultural images of sacrifice and economic ways that perpetuate a way of being human that might be in need of disrupting and cleansing by God's willingness to give God's self to show us the cost to others of our ways?
I hope you will spend some quiet time considering this story from John while you are sipping on a hot cup of coffee or tea. Or perhaps your are spiritually renewed and open to reflection while you are walking, biking, running, or gardening.
God's peace in a Holy Lent,
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.