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House of Merchandise
Bible Passage John 2:13-22
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2022 & books ISAIAH, John.

House of Merchandise?

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached December 15, 2022

13 Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money exchangers sitting there;

15 And after making a scourge of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with both the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money exchangers, and overturned the tables.

16 And to those who were selling the doves, He said, “Take these things out of here! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise.”

17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “The zeal of Your house has eaten Me up.”

18 As a result, the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?”

19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20 Then the Jews said, “This temple was forty-six years in building, and You will raise it up in three days?”

21 But He spoke concerning the temple of His body.

22 Therefore, when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scriptures, and the word that Jesus had spoken.

When Jesus left Capernaum, He went to Jerusalem for the Passover (John 2:13). He found out that the outer court of the temple was crowded with Jewish merchants and money changers. Four courtyards surrounded the main part of the temple. The outer courtyard was called the Gentiles’ Courtyard. This was where the merchants and the money changers did business.

The merchants were selling animals for sacrifice, and the money changers were exchanging foreign money for money acceptable to the temple authorities.

The place looked more like a market than a place of prayer. Jesus was so angry at what He saw that He took bold action to cleanse the temple of all commercial activity (verses 14-16). Some people often refer to this verse to condemn harvest sales in churches. But we have a different opinion about it. The people of Jesus’ day used dubious means to make money for themselves while harvest sales in the church are only supporting the fundraising activities of the church.

The merchants sold animals for sacrifices in the temple and animals had to be perfect, without a mark or a spot on them. There were temple officials employed to examine the animals that people brought for sacrifices. But the officials were not fair or honest. They accepted only the animals that people had bought from the temple and rejected any animals that people had bought from places outside the temple. So this forced everyone to buy animals from the temple. But the animals sold at the temple cost much more than usual. They were very expensive so the merchants made huge profits.

This was not the only thing that was unfair. Every Jew had to pay a tax to the temple. This tax paid for the daily ceremonies there. But people had to pay this tax with special coins. So when visitors came, they had to go to the moneychangers. The moneychangers took the visitors’ coins and gave them special coins. But the moneychangers charged the visitors a lot of money for this service. Like the merchants, the moneychangers were greedy and they made abnormal profits too.

The Jews objected to Jesus’ interfering with the temple and challenged Him to perform some miracle as evidence that He had authority from God to act in such a way. Jesus referred to the sign of His resurrection as His authority, but no one understood its meaning at the time.

Jesus knew that because of His zeal for the purity of God’s house the Jews would eventually kill Him, but He would rise from the dead and bring in a new era of life for the world.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke also recorded this incident. They reported Jesus’ words slightly differently. Jesus said that God’s house had become a place for thieves to hide. But Mark added some extra words. Jesus also spoke some words from Isaiah 56:7: ‘People will call my house a place of worship for all nations.’ ‘All nations’ referred to the Gentiles.

🔷 The place of worship must be revered and used only for activities that are worshipful

🔷 Profits must be made genuinely, without cheating or stealing for God to bless one’s work

🔷 All those who believe in Jesus shall be raised with Him, and they shall enjoy the full glory of Christ

💥 Pray that your heart shall be a pure temple of God

Christianity must be carried with believers everywhere they go. They must resurrect God’s holiness by living a life that honors God and frees fellow beings from their heart. God hates ‘stealers’.

In series Bright Morning Reflections