When Did Jesus Clean Out the Temple?

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all agree. Jesus ran the money changers out of the temple on Monday of Holy Week. John, on the other hand, puts this event very early in his Gospel. In fact, John puts it in the second chapter of his Gospel.

You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to see how John tells the story of Jesus in a very different way. While the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) seem to follow the same basic timeline of Jesus’ ministry, John doesn’t. John isn’t concerned about the chronology of events. He’s concerned with their meaning. He puts details in his Gospel so their meaning is illuminated.

And this is what he does with the story Jesus cleaning out the temple. John puts it first. It’s as if John is saying, “If you want to understand Jesus and His ministry, you have to understand this: Jesus breaks down the barriers that keep people from coming to God.” The temple process of providing acceptable sacrifices had become so expensive that a lot of poor people could no longer participate in worship. For Jesus, this was unacceptable. He cleared out the tables and the money changers because they got in the way of worship.

This is what Jesus did throughout His ministry—He broke down the barriers that kept people from coming to God.

That’s what He’s doing now. Jesus came so that nothing could stop people—all kinds of people—from coming to God.

Which makes me wonder, what would Jesus turn over in our church? What would He turn over in my life?

For that matter, what would He turn over in your life?

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