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Christ Driving the Merchants from the Temple
Jacob Jordaens, 1650
Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
John 2:19, Matthew 21:12-17
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After this Jesus went with his mother and his younger brothers to a place called Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. But they stayed there only a few days, for the feast of the Passover was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem to attend it. You remember that the feast of the Passover was held every year to keep in mind how God had led the people of Israel out of Egypt long before.
When Jesus came to Jerusalem he found in the courts of the Temple men who were selling oxen and sheep and doves for the sacrifices, and other men sitting at tables changing the money of Jews who came from other lands into the money of Judea. All this made the courts around the Temple seem like a market, and not a place for the worship of God.
Jesus picked up some cord, and made from it a little whip. With it he began to drive out of the Temple all the buyers and sellers. He was but one, and they were many; but such power was in his look that they ran before him. He drove the men, and the sheep and the oxen; he overturned the tables, and threw on the floor the money, and to those who were selling the doves he said, "Take these things away; make not my Father’s house a house for selling and buying!"
Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple by Rembrandt, 1632
Purification of the Temple
El Greco, 1600
These acts of Jesus were not pleasing to the rulers of the Jews, for many of them were getting rich by this selling of sacrifices and changing of money. Some of the rulers came to Jesus, and said to him, What right have you to come here and do such things as these? What sign can you show that God has given to you power to rule in this place?
Jesus said to them, "I will give you a sign. Destroy this house of God, and in three days I will raise it up." Then said the Jews, "It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and it is not finished yet. Will you raise it up in three days?"
But Jesus did not mean that Temple on Mount Moriah. He was speaking of himself, for in him God was dwelling as in a temple, and he meant that when they should put him to death, he would rise again in three days. Afterward, when Jesus had died and risen again, his followers, the disciples, thought of what he had said, and understood these words.
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