13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.
JOHN 2: 13-14 ESV

13 Καὶ ἐγγὺς ἦν τὸ πάσχα τῶν Ἰουδαίων, καὶ ἀνέβη εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα ὁ Ἰησοῦς. 14 καὶ εὗρεν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ τοὺς πωλοῦντας βόας καὶ πρόβατα καὶ περιστερὰς καὶ τοὺς κερματιστὰς καθημένους,
JOHN 2: 13-14 SBLGNT

And the Passover of the Jews was near. Every male Jew, from age twelve and up, was expected to attend the Passover at Jerusalem, a feast celebrated to commemorate the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egyptian bondage. On the tenth of the month Abib or Nisan (which generally corresponds to our March, though its closing days sometimes extend into our April) a male lamb, of the first year, without blemish, was taken, and on the fourteenth day, between three and six o’clock in the afternoon, it was killed. The elaborate evening celebration of the feast in the days of our Lord’s sojourn included the following elements:

a. A prayer of thanksgiving by the head of the house; drinking the first cup of wine. Other cups were emptied as the feast proceeded.

b. The eating of bitter herbs, as a reminder of the bitter slavery in Egypt.

c. The son’s enquiry, “Why is this night distinguished from all other nights?” and the father’s appropriate reply, either narrated or read.

d. The singing of the first part of the Hallel (Pss. 113, 114) and the washing of hands.

e. The carving and eating of the lamb, together with unleavened bread. The lamb was eaten in commemoration of the father’s command to do in the night when the Lord smote the first-born of Egypt and delivered his people. (See Ex. 12 and 13.) Unleavened bread was a memorial of the first days of the journey during which the ancestors had eaten this bread of haste, and it was also an emblem of purity.

f. The continuation of the meal, each ate as much as he liked, but always last of the lamb.

g. The singing of the last part of the Hallel (Pss. 115–118).

The day on which the lamb was killed was followed by the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was celebrated from the fifteenth to the twenty-first of Nisan.

So very close was the connection between the Passover-meal proper and the immediately following Feast of Unleavened Bread that the term Passover is frequently used to cover both.

Thus, in Luke 22:1—a very significant passage—we read: “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover.” Also, in Acts 12:4
And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.“, the term Passover covers the entire seven-day festival. The Old Testament calls the Passover a feast of seven days, Ezek. 45:21- 21 “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall celebrate the Feast of the Passover, and for seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten.
During this seven-day festival, called Passover, many animals were offered in sacrifice (Num. 28:16–25)
16 “On the fourteenth day of the first month is the LORD’s Passover, 17 and on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast. Seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. 18 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, 19 but offer a food offering, a burnt offering to the LORD: two bulls from the herd, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old; see that they are without blemish; 20 also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil; three tenths of an ephah shall you offer for a bull, and two tenths for a ram; 21 a tenth shall you offer for each of the seven lambs; 22 also one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you. 23 You shall offer these besides the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a regular burnt offering. 24 In the same way you shall offer daily, for seven days, the food of a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. It shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. 25 And on the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work to Jehovah.”

Hence, when we read about oxen and sheep sold in the temple court in the second chapter of John, the conclusion would seem to be warranted that the term Passover, in verse 13, refers to the entire one-week festival. This time span is a critical aspect that will come into importance later as Jesus comes towards the end of His earthly ministry.

And Jesus went up to Jerusalem, true in this case in a literal sense (actually ascending from 680 feet below sea-level near the Sea of Galilee to 2,500 feet above sea-level, the altitude of the Holy City), but ever true in the religious sense.
And he found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting. Now at this occasion, Jesus, entering Jerusalem’s temple, notices that the court of the Gentiles had been changed into what must have resembled a stockyard. There was the stench and the filth, the bleating and the lowing of animals, destined for sacrifice. It is true, in the abstract, that each worshipper was allowed to bring to the temple an animal of his selection; however, let him try it! In all likelihood, it would not be approved by the judges, the privileged vendors who filled the money-chests of Annas! Hence, to save trouble and disappointment, animals for sacrifice were bought right here in the outer court, which was called the court of the Gentiles because they were permitted to enter it. Of course, the dealers in cattle and sheep would be tempted to charge exorbitant prices for such animals. They would exploit the worshippers.

Moreover, those who sold pigeons would do likewise, charging, perhaps, $4 for a pair of doves worth a nickel. And then there were the money-changers, sitting cross-legged behind their little coin-covered tables. They gave the worshipper lawful Jewish coins in exchange for foreign currency. It must be borne in mind that only Jewish coins were allowed to be offered in the temple, and every worshipper—women, slaves, and minors excepted—had to pay the annual temple tribute of half a shekel (cf. Ex. 30:13). The money-changers would charge a certain fee for every exchange transaction. Here, too, there were abundant opportunities for deception and abuse. Furthermore, given these conditions, the Holy Temple, intended as a house of prayer for all people, had become a den of robbers

When we look at the temple today, we can without doubt conclude that it is still contaminated by sin but the only difference is that the temple now lies within us. Jesus has torn the temple down and rebuilt it in three days through his ressurrection. As we die to our sins we are rebuilt in the new temple filled with the Holy Spirit that empowers us to keep our faith and focus on Christ.

How easy it is to allow ourselves to be contaminated by sin. Sin perpetrated through our immoral needs, desires and lust for a world that burdens our souls and blinds our hearts from our saviour. Like Jesus, unless we clear the temple of our heart and soul from sin, can we be upright in our journey. The sacrfice has been made on our behalf by Christ himself and we are called in good and righteous works for the glory of our God in heaven.


Categories: christianity, english, Gospel of John

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. Reblogged this on TRUTH-SEEKER and commented:
    Love this.
    As Jesus clears the Fathers house, we are called to clear our hearts and souls of sin and look to God.
    Never realize the theological message plain for us to see.

    Liked by 2 people

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