Daily Archives: May 14, 2011

The Gospel of John: Part 8 The Clearing

John 2:13–22 (ESV) — 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. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then 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 about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

2 Temple Clearings
Today we are in the second chapter of John verses 13-22 and we are going to cover the clearing of the temple by Jesus. Now here is where we come to the first controversy between the synoptics and John’s gospel. The problem is simple; John is recording this happening at the start of Jesus’ ministry. Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, and Luke 19:45-48 record it happening at the end. The simple solution and the one I believe, along with many others[1] is that there are 2 temple clearings one at the beginning and one at the end of Jesus’ ministry. I will mention some of the reasons some scholars speak out so strongly[2] against two temple clearings, but I am going to mainly focus on the fact that there are 2.
If you want some reading on this E. Randolph Richards has an article from the Trinity Journal of Theology [3] that goes into 25 pages of more depth than I’m going to cover. I will use some of his argument without going into too much depth.

  1. [1] Luther, Macarthur, Ironside, Morris, Carson, Lightfoot and others
  2. [2] Gerald Borchert calls the idea of two temple clearings “a historiographic monstrosity”( Gerald L. Borchert, vol. 25A, John 1-11, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 160)
  3. [3] http://www.tiu.edu/files/divinity/connect/trinityjournal/TJ_pgs_19-43_Spring_2008.pdf