Third Sunday of Lent: John 2:13-25
13 It was almost time for the Passover Festival, so Jesus went to Jerusalem.
14 There in the Temple he found people selling cattle, sheep and pigeons, and also the moneychangers sitting at their tables.
15 So he made a whip from cords and drove all the animals out of the Temple, both the sheep and the cattle; he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and scattered their coins;
16 and he ordered those who sold the pigeons, “Take them out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market place!”
17 His disciples remembered that the scripture says, “My devotion to your house, O God, burns in me like a fire.”
18 The Jewish authorities replied with a question, “What miracle can you perform to show us that you have the right to do this?”
19 Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple, and in three days I will build it again.
20 “Are you going to build it again in three days?” they asked him. “It has taken 46 years to build this Temple!”
21 But the temple Jesus was speaking about was his body.
22 So when he was raised from death, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and what Jesus had said.
23 While Jesus was in Jerusalem during the Passover Festival, many believed in him as they saw the miracles he performed.
24 As they came down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has risen from death.”But Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew them all.
25 There was no need for anyone to tell him about them, because he himself knew what was in their hearts.
Other readings: Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19:7-10; 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
The key question today is: “Why should we believe in Jesus?” John the Evangelist shows why a number of different people, including the disciples, believed or refused to believe in Jesus.
Jews from all over the world came to offer sacrifices in the Temple. They purchased animals for sacrifice in the Temple grounds. But Jesus saw past the convenience to the stallholders’ money-grabbing attitude; they had turned a holy place into a market place.
The disciples believed Jesus’s actions in the Temple revealed a deep concern for God to be honoured. They interpreted Jesus’s words in the light of Psalm 69:9, “For zeal for your house consumes me”, and they believed he came from God.
The Jewish authorities, however, saw Jesus’s behaviour as a serious offence. They demanded he show them a miracle to prove he came from God and with his authority. Jesus answered with a prophecy which no one understood at that time.
The prophecy was that he would rise from the dead (verse 19).This mysterious prophecy made a deep impression on his disciples. They remembered it and when Jesus’s Resurrection took place, they understood these words as the prophecy they were. The Jewish authorities, on the other hand, ridiculed his words, refusing to consider they had any other meaning than the obvious one.
What light does Mark’s account (Mark 11:15-17) shed on our understanding of this event? The stallholders and the Temple authorities seem to have lost sight of, or certainly misunderstood, whom they were serving. How can we guard against this happening to us? Consider the attitude of the Jewish authorities compared to the disciples. What is their attitude to Jesus’s words and actions? What can we learn from this?
Jesus wanted to honour God in all things. Think about the week ahead and the television programmes you watch or the jokes you tell. Do they honour God? Ask God to show you gently any area he might want to change over the coming weeks.
In the first reading, Exodus 20:1-17, God gives Moses the Ten Commandments, or Law, to the Israelites. Jesus’s actions reflect his desire to honour God and respect the house of God. Our Gospel reading shows that Jesus remained a mystery for many people and this is still true today.
In 1 Corinthians 1:22-23, Paul underlines this. The Jews want miracles, the Greeks want wisdom. The crucified Christ is offensive to the former and makes no sense to the latter. This reminds us that we must approach God with faith and a humble attitude for him to reveal himself to us.
Lectio Divina is an ancient tradition of reading and engaging with God’s Word
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