What Jesus Did! 'Conflict in the Temple' — John 2:13-16

Friday, February 4, 2022

It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers' coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, "Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father's house into a marketplace!"
— John 2:13-16 NLT

Key Thought

Jesus rarely displayed his anger and displeasure with such demonstrative action and such fervent emotion. Passover was the celebration of God's deliverance of the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt. God's people came to Jerusalem and the Temple from all over the world to remember and celebrate God's powerful grace. For this celebration to be turned into a time for scrounging money out of Israelite visitors was a desecration of the Passover Feast and the Temple.

Just as Jesus was angered by the things being done in the Temple in Jerusalem, he doesn't want us to turn our assemblies of God's people — the present-day temple where God lives [1] — into an opportunity to take advantage of our brothers and sisters in Christ or even just an opportunity to transact business. Instead, he wants the fellowship of his people to be a time of deliverance, grace, prayer, and community worship!

[1] See 1 Corinthians 3:16 which speaks of Christians collectively being God's temple. Also, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 talks about our individual bodies being God's temple and the associated implication for what we do with and to our bodies. While being the temple is important for worshipping God, both of these passages in 1 Corinthians point out that as God's temple, he lives in us just as the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:8, 40:34-35) and later the Temple (1 Kings 8:10-11) were God's special dwelling place.

Today's Prayer

Holy and righteous God, please keep my heart set on glorifying you and encouraging my brothers and sisters in the faith when we assemble. May my joyful remembrance of my deliverance through Jesus' sacrifice lead me to praise you and to bless others generously. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Hebrews 13:15-16
  • 2 Corinthians 9:10-11
  • 2 Peter 2:1-3


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Illustration of John 2:13-16 NLT — "Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father's house into a marketplace!"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.