December 2, 2014

The Gospel of John primarily represents a description of the life of Jesus during his final experience in the city of Jerusalem. The other Gospel accounts (Matthew-Mark-Luke) provide insights into a broader life journey of Jesus. As a result, the setting for today’s reading is in the temple of Jerusalem where Jesus expresses his anger at the way the temple is being disrespected by the people. It has become a marketplace. It is a familiar scene that has been described in many ways.

The central image is one of confrontation and cleansing. Above all, Jesus wants the temple to be restored as his father’s house and not to be used for merchandise and livestock sales. In other Gospel accounts he declares that his father’s house will be a house of prayer. But John gives us an insight that we cannot resist.

In this moment Jesus provides us with the first hint of his resurrection. If the temple is destroyed, he will raise it again in three days. But it took 46 years to build the temple, how can anyone say that it could be restored in just three days? We would have the same question so we are thankful when we discover that John provides us an insight into the conversation. He is not talking about the stones of the temple, he is talking about his own body that will ultimately be restored from death to life. We even get a glimpse at the future thinking of the disciples when they will later remember his words when he stands before them in resurrected form.

The word Advent comes from the Latin form ‘advents’ which means ‘coming.’ We know that Jesus has already arrived. We even know that his three day resurrection experience brought him back into the presence of the disciples…but what ‘coming’ are we thinking about in 2015. Here we are, more than 2000 years later and we are waiting on the arrival of the Lord. We could focus on the ‘second coming’ that will mark the fullness of time. Or we could draw our attention to visualize how Jesus is arriving in our lives day-by-day and moment-by-moment.

For me, I am going to be looking for Jesus in every face I see today. And I am going to make sure his house remains a house of prayer. How about you?

John 2:13-25

13The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” 19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22After 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. 23When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. 24But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.


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