Summary: Jesus cleanses the temple, signifying the destruction and raising of the temple of his body.
According to Hollywood there are two ways to start a war. You can send in the Seal Teams and start it covertly, or you can do start it with a show of force; a blitzkrieg. This was Hitler’s trademark in the European Theater, the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, and America in the Gulf War.
In the three synoptic gospel, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus begins his ministry covertly. He gathers a few disciples and begins teaching in Galilee away from the religious centers. Jesus doesn’t cleanse the temple until the last week of his ministry. In John’s gospel, Jesus starts his ministry out with a bang. The next thing he does after the wedding at Cana is to clean out the temple. From the very beginning of his ministry, John has Jesus proclaiming that he is the Son of God; he speaks and acts with God’s authority.
Jesus has come to usher in the kingdom of God. He declares that he is now the temple. With Jesus come a new age and a new relationship.
The temple stood high on Mount Zion. Built of marble and gold, it dazzled in the sun. The temple could be seen from far away. When the Jews saw the temple they were reminded of God’s presence—God’s glory had filled the temple when it was first built. Even if people were far away in distant lands just knowing that the temple stood on Mount Zion comforted them with the knowledge of God’s presence.
Jesus came and declared that he was the temple. He was the place where heaven and earth met. Jesus was the presence of God. In the new age, which Jesus was ushering in, no one needed to go to a building to enter into God’s presence. Instead they could walk with Jesus.
There are times in life’s struggles that we lose sight of Jesus and of God’s presence in our lives. Jesus hasn’t left us. We just can see him. We may need an aid to help us be assured of God’s presence.
• Martin Luther would declare, “I have been baptized.”
• For centuries Christians have sought solace and strength in the Psalms
• Some use a visual reminder like a cross, a picture of Jesus, a prayer rock
We live in a new age, we are in Christ and Christ is in us in the person of the Holy Spirit.
In Old Testament times, if people wanted to touch the divine, they needed to travel to the temple. In the new age that Jesus ushered in, we encounter God in the person of Jesus. We walk in a relationship with Jesus.
Perhaps the most difficult concept to convey in the Christian life is the idea of relationship. People have been taught that the important thing in the Christian life is to believe the right things. Others have been instructed to follow a prescribed set of religious rituals. Yet, the Christian life is more than what we believe and going through the motions.
To nurture one’s faith is to nurture a relationship. We spend time with God. We do things together with God. We talk to God. The ultimate relationship that we can have is with God and God offers this relationship to us freely.