Cleansing the Temple
After His baptism and temptation in the wilderness, Jesus selected 12 disciples to walk with Him. Together they attended the wedding in Cana where Jesus miraculously turned water into wine and revealed His glory. Then, He began His ministry in Jerusalem by attending the annual Passover there. He found the Temple area filled with money changers and animals meant for sacrifice. As He drove them from the Temple, He declared, "Get these things out of here. How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" (John 2:16) This very act of passion was the fulfillment of Psalm 69:8-9. "I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother's sons; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me."
Jesus' ministry would be culminated in Jerusalem during the Passover, just as it began. When He entered the Temple, He found it to be the same way it was three years before. "Then He entered the Temple area and began driving out those who were selling, 'It is written,' He said to them, 'My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.'" (Luke 19:45)
Both the beginning and the end of the ministry of Jesus took place in the Temple at Passover, and it was highlighted by His concern for the Temple. These similarities stand as bookends of His life and demonstrate how we should live our lives by treating our bodies (the temple of God) with respect. "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him, for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple." (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) This is a sobering truth--so important that Jesus began and ended His ministry cleansing the Temple.
Joan E. Mathias