Jesus Cleans Up
The temple is the focus of the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Lent (John 2:13-25). Jesus got quite angry at the scene he witnessed there. The Lord had just made his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he would celebrate Passover. There were many other pilgrims crowding into the city at that time and they were expected to make a donation to the temple for its upkeep.
Shopping in the Temple
The Roman currency used was considered by the Jewish to be unclean therefore the Jewish visitors had to change the money. This was a good opportunity for the money changers to make a small profit so they set up tables along the outer court of the temple. It was much the same with the animals used for sacrifice. Animals brought in from the outside were subjected too much scrutiny and inspection. For this reason, pilgrims could buy animals that were approved for sacrifice. This too, was of course, a money making opportunity and the temple scene was more like a bazaar than a place of prayer and worship. I am sure we could all understand Jesus’ anger at the mess he found. He cleaned up when he turned the tables over, spilled out the contents of the money changers. Using a whip, he forced the people out of His Father’s house.
Jesus challenged the priorities of the people of his day, just as he challenges ours today. Our Lenten traditions help us to clean out the temple of our body by setting priorities. If we look at our fasting during Lent as our dying with Jesus, we can rise with Jesus when we see our results on Easter: a change in habits and feeling of being clean.