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Jesus had just completed His first miracle while attending a wedding. At the request of His mother, He had turned water into wine.
As this study begins, He has moved on to Capernaum, along with His mother, brothers, and disciples.
Jesus Cleanses the Temple:
Verse 12: "After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days."
Capernaum was a principal city on the northwest banks of the Sea of Galilee and was a place Jesus visited often. It was near the area where He lived and performed His most notable deeds.
What Jesus said about Capernaum:
"Thou Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted unto heaven? thou shalt go down unto Hades: for if the mighty works had been done in Sodom which were done in thee, it would have remained until this day" (Matt 11:23).
The above verse is the first mention of Jesus' brothers in the Gospel of John; and as we will see in John 7:5, they did not yet believe in him.
Jesus and the Money Changers: Jesus Cleanses the Temple
This cleansing of the temple should not be confused with still another event where He also cleansed the temple a few days before the crucifixion. Here, Jesus uses a scourge that is not mentioned in the accounts of the second cleansing.
Verse 13: "The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem."
The Passover feast was part of an annual event held in Jerusalem that lasted one week. All Jewish males were expected to attend. The Passover was for one day, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread continued the rest of the week.
Verse 14: "In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there."
Sheep, doves, and cattle were necessary for the people's sacrifices. The Temple controlled the money used in such purchases
Moneychangers would charge enormous fees to standardize the various currencies into the temple coinage; that money was used to pay taxes, and to buy and sell sacrificial animals.
The moneychangers and merchants had made a mockery of God's house of worship by setting up business in the sacred area of the temple, and Jesus was angry!
Verse 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."
This disrespectful mockery of God's house was unacceptable to Jesus. Here we see a part of Jesus that many do not understand. Those who think Jesus was weak or wimpy should study this Scripture.
Jesus' love and reverence for the Father became a demonstration of righteous indignation and unlimited power under control. The Messiah of Israel had arrived and was laying claim to His rightful position as head of the Theocracy by using a whip to chase them out.
Our next study will show that from this day forward, murderous schemes were devised for getting rid of Jesus.
Verse 16: "And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade."
These people either had forgotten or did not care that God's house is a place of worship, not a place for making a profit.
"My Father's House" indicates the unique sonship of Jesus and the advent of the Messiah.
Verse 17: "His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."
The disciples recalled Psalms 69:9, a psalm of a righteous sufferer. The cleansing of the temple was still another excellent demonstration of evidence pointing to the Messiah, but like the other signs, it would be rejected.
Verses 18-21: "So the Jews said to him, "What sign do you show us for doing these things?" 19Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days? But he was speaking about the temple of his body."
Jesus was speaking of the temple of His body, but the Jews thought He was talking about the temple in Jerusalem.
It had taken forty-six years to build the temple, so to most Jews, and especially to the ones who controlled Jerusalem's temple, Jesus' Words, that He would “raise it up in three days,” would sound blasphemous.
Verses 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."
A prophetic word is often recognized only in retrospect. The disciples of Jesus would better understand His Words after His death, (with the resurrection of His body occurring on the third day). This prophecy/prediction became the most significant proof of His claims to be God.
Jesus Knows What Is in Man :
Verses 23-25: "Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man."
Many people believed in Jesus when they saw the signs and miracles He performed, but this sudden wave of popularity did not deceive Him. Jesus knew how fickle and unreliable public opinion could be. He knew this would be short-lived, and did not entrust Himself to them.
Jesus knows the heart of all people. Miracle workers of that day were often thought to know some hearts, but only God, who was called the "Searcher of Hearts," knew the hearts of all people.
Just as He read the hearts of both Peter and Nathaniel, He could see right through these people. Without a doubt He knew that some of these would be among those who shouted, "Crucify him!" when the Lord stood before Pilate.
This concludes our study of, Jesus Turns Water into Wine, and Jesus Cleanses the Temple.
Click on the link to our next study:
"You Must be Born Again"