My Father’s House
Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And he found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords. He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And the said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written “Zeal of Your house has eaten Me up.”
18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us since you do these things?”
19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three day I will raise it up.”
20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus has said.
The temple was God’s dwelling place among men (see Exodus 25:8). Again, and Again the Jews criticized Jesus for speaking of God as His Father (see John 5:17, 18: John 8:18, 29, 38, 39; John 10:30-33). Yet they all claimed God as their Father (John 8:41) but realized that Jesus did so in a higher sense. They perceived that, in these words, Jesus set forth an unqualified claim to divinity. Interestingly at the second cleansing of the temple he claimed the Temple as “My house” (Matthew 21:130 and when the leaders rejected his final appeal the following day he referred to it as “your house” (Matthew 23:38).
So, what happened on that day Jesus first cleansed the temple? Was Jesus upset or angry enough that he would have hurt people? Or perhaps this is one of those living parables, given to teach the Jewish leaders a lesson, which can also be applied to ourselves today.
In the Egyptian court before Pharaoh, God through Moses attempting to teach a living parable to a king whose heart had been hardened by continual rejection of God’s message to him. So God attempted one last time by giving to Pharaoh a living parable which is symbolized in the following way. The symbols used were Moses, Aaron, the rod and the serpent.
When the rod was firmly in the grasp of Aaron, the power of destruction was under the control of God. When the rod was cast down it turned into a serpent. Interestingly enough the Hebrew word to describe this serpent is “monster”. The symbol of the serpent is synonymous with Satan and so God is in control of what Satan can and cannot do. However, if man chooses by his words and actions that he does not want God, then God will loosen his grip and in some cases even cast the rod to the ground allowing Satan to control the events. Satan is the author of chaos and confusion. The monster (Satan) is loose allowing destruction to follow in his wake.
The same holds true of the whip of cords that Jesus made at the cleansing of the temple. The cord was firmly in Jesus hand and control and therefore nothing bad happened other then priest, Pharisee, money changer and live stock dealer getting their feelings hurts.
But Christ’s intentions of using the whip was to show the people, that should they continue on their present course, God would have no choice but to release his control of the whip allowing it to strike chaos and destruction among the temple and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
This sounds awful harsh, but the reality is the Jews were close to rejecting God, which they eventually did by having Jesus nailed to a cross. It was in 70 CE (AD) that the destruction of Jerusalem came about as a result of the rejection of the Jewish people to the message of hope that God had given to them.
So, was Christ angry as in very upset enough to hurt others with the whip of cords. After all, did not Jesus overturn the tables and scatter their money. Again this was part of the object lesson for the real truth that all the earthly treasures in which they were putting their trust would be of no support to them in the hour of trouble which was quickly coming upon the Jewish nation.
God so loved the world, that he was willing to send His Son to the world that through Jesus, the whole world could see the love of the father. It was with love, that God gave to the religious leaders a warning of what was to come if they continued to practice their idolatry
Rightly considered, in the temple, Jesus Christ did exactly what He and His Father had done in the land of Egypt. He came to both with the offer of forgiveness, protection, and life. He showed each of them the terrible consequences of their continuing in their present course, in the hope that the realization of their need would prompt them to reach out for God’s solution to it.
In both of these instances, God and Christ lived out the maxim of their lives, in the contrast to that of the devil who is the destroyer. Christ expressed the truth in these words: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10)
Christ’s sorrow then and now remains in the realization, “but you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:40).
Then His disciples remembered that is was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”
We will explore this and more in our next post.