Year B Lent 3 John 2012
Clean House
John 2:13-22

The portrait of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Gospel appointed for this day has proven to be something of a conundrum for interpreters through the years. What we see is the Lord Jesus in a violent rage driving animals and people out of the Temple. Years ago Bruce Barton, in a very popular book, The Man Nobody Knows, used the story to demonstrate how virile the Lord Jesus was. He surmised that the Lord Jesus was capable of Herculean strength and prowess because of his outdoorsy lifestyle and vigorous walking missionary tours. However, others have been concerned that this public demonstration which had all the earmarks of a near riot was most unbecoming of the normal life style of Jesus. Also, if this were a pique of temper, could not someone accuse Jesus of being guilty of a sin which all of us dislike very much?

Then, of course, there is the additional problem of finding this story in the beginning of the Fourth Gospel, whereas the other evangelists place it in Holy Week at the beginning of his passion. Could it be true that Jesus cleansed the Temple twice? Is John right and the others wrong? Or is it the other way around? Or could there be another reason why John places the story where he does? There is good reason to think that it is the latter. The story of Jesus cleansing the Temple helps us to understand several very important aspects of the church and its worship.

  1. The Context and the Importance of the Temple
  2. The Shock of Challenging an Old System
  3. The Body of the Church and the Sacramental Body
  4. Our Worship in the Spirit of the Lord

No Cleansing, No Refreshment
John 2:13-22

Do you realize how much you pay to get "roughed up?"

You heard me right.

You even pay big bucks to get roughed up on a daily basis.

To be sure, you don't think about this activity as getting "roughed up." You probably think of it as your morning shower or your evening bath.

But consider what you do as you go about your daily cleansing rituals. Whether you use a washcloth, a loofah, or one of those "buff-puff" thingies, as you rub and scrub in the bathtub or shower you are roughing up and sloughing off dead skin cells. Pumice stones grate off rough calluses. Facial scrubs are peppered with "micro beads," gritty bits designed to gently "rough up" your tired skin, exfoliating and revealing a fresh new layer. To "come clean" some things have to go — dirt, sweat, and a layer of old skin cells. That's why cleansing involves some "rough stuff."

In today's gospel text Jesus' actions, his "cleansing" of the Temple courtyard, is accomplished with a vigorous roughing up. But what exactly is Jesus so set on scrubbing off?

Jesus' anger is focused against the economic activities going on outside the Temple... presents Leonard Sweet