So now let’s look at the beginning of Jesus’ teaching ministry. In verse 12 we find out that after the wedding they spent a few days at Capernaum before heading to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem it is almost time for the passover. The priest knowing that the Jewish people must have an unblemished sacrifice have placed merchants in the courts around the temple. (Click on picture to see a large picture of the temple from ESV study bible) They also have tables set up where money from the foreign villages can be exchanged for the half shekel coin used as the currency of the temple.
Jesus enters and sees how the temple where everyone goes to worship has been turned into a place to cheat worshipers out of their money. Just picture Jesus standing there and watching everything going on. He came to worship the father at the temple and as he looks around, worship is the farthest thing from anyone’s mind here.
I can picture Jesus standing there and praying, Father forgive them for their greed but teach them of their sin. As he prays he picks up a couple of straps of leather and starts to weave them together. He slowly and prayerful braids the strips together and then with a zealous holy anger he starts to yell sending the animals and people on a stampede through the gates outside the temple.
As they run from Him He turns and looks into the eyes of the men selling doves. “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a marketplace!” As the dove sellers are packing up to leave, the chief priest come running to see what is the cause of this commotion, the disciples reflect on the Psalm saying,”Zeal for your house will consume me”(Psalm 69.9).
Right here, I believe can be applied to our church worship services. The temple was designed to be a place to go and worship God, over time it changed into something different. When the priest first started allowing the merchants in, it was probably a good thing that helped everyone worship but over time it started to prevent worship. I believe there is a warning for us here to make sure we are not allowing things to enter the church that prevent worship.
The priest approach Jesus and ask, “show us proof that God has given you the authority to clear this temple.” Notice what is going on here. They never accuse Jesus of doing wrong they Just want proof that He is a prophet of God. Its been over 400 years since a prophet has spoken so if He is a prophet they want proof.
In John 2:19 Jesus simply states, “Destroy this temple and I will raise it in three days.” The Jews do not realize that he has answered their question. They just remark that it has taken forty-six years to build the temple there is no way he can rebuild it in three days.
Lets look at Deuteronomy 18:21-22. It is the instruction Moses gave to the Israelites on how to know if a prophet was sent by God. Simply put the God ordained test of a prophet is to see if what he proclaims in the name of the Lord comes true. If it does, God is telling us that the man is truly a prophet sent by God and the message he proclaims is true.
This statement by Jesus in response to the prophets is amazing and wonderful for us. First Jesus did not do like the other prophets and say something about the Lord saying. (2 Samuel 12:7, 1 Kings 13:2, Isaiah 1:2, Jeremiah 1:19, Ezekiel 3:27, etc)All the prophets proclaimed that their message was from the Lord. Jesus did not, because He is the Lord. Second they asked Jesus for proof that He was under the authority of God. He used Moses’ test to prove that He was and therefore showing us that everything He said is the word of God. This means that everything the bible records Jesus saying came directly from God and God put His stamp of approval on it.
That’s why this section ends with the disciples saying they remembered this and then believed the scripture.