Cleansing the Temple

Cleansing the Temple: John 2:13-22

When Jesus went into the Temple and threw out all the merchants that were making their living selling sacrificial animals to penitents, He not only fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy in PS 69:9, but He also predicted His death and resurrection (v20-21).

It is heinous to God when we decide to exploit or manipulate His plan for His people. His plan is perfect and for the good of all. Our plans are often twisted and self serving even when we think we are doing good for others. Jesus, being God, was able to see the twisted and self-serving things that the religious were doing to use the sacrificial system to their own material benefit. This detracted from their worship. God’s house was to be a house of prayer and worship, not a shopkeeper’s paradise willing and able to take advantage of the congregation’s obligations to God. They wanted a little piece of the action.

Jesus was appalled and as Psalm 69:9 says, Zeal for God’s House consumed Him; He became enraged and threw the merchants out.

This was the Passover, the time the people were to honor and reflect on a personal God who had rescued them from slavery, who had upheld them in the wilderness, and had brought them to the Promised Land. Jesus saw their perversion of His honor and rebuked them soundly for it.

In our world, we often take advantage of the same issues. A prime example would be the commercialism of Christmas in the United States. Three months before Christmas, we become overwhelmed with secularized symbols of our holiday. Many of us are disgusted, just as Jesus was, at the way people use and abuse the nature of the holiday. This is the season of “gifts,” so we are inundated with all kinds of them. The problem is, just like in the temple, the gifts obscure the GIFT of Christ. Those of us who capitulate to the material system often find ourselves bereft of the true spiritual fulfillment after the holiday is past. The glitter and flash of all the material world has to offer is not what a person needs; the person needs Christ, without Him, nothing satisfies.

I can imagine that those who entered the Temple on that Passover may have felt the same. The constant chatter and wailing of the merchants in the open market disrupted the sense of focus and worship that one should have when entering into the presence of God. One would be immediately distracted and perhaps annoyed.

Christ’s response to the merchants is something we should take to heart. His response to the Jews who confronted Him should give us pause before we try, like the Jews, to take every word in the Bible literally. Each in his own way used his thinking to avoid doing what God expected. The money-changers, by being present, and the Jews, by confronting Jesus and then expecting Him to answer them according to what they already thought of Him.

In what ways are you like the moneychangers? In what way are you avoiding the worship of your God? Does your literal approach to His word enable you to have an escape clause that allows you to avoid what He is calling you to do?

See Ya Next Time

You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:

Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference.


QUESTIONS: Read John 2:13-22

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

13 [t] The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus [u] went up to Jerusalem. 14 [v] In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 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. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make [w] my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, [x] “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 So the Jews said to him, [y] “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, [z] “Destroy this temple, and in three days [a] I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about [b] the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, [c] his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed [d] the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

John 2:13-22 (ESV)


1. In what ways do the people in your culture, including the religious people, exploit God’s Holy Days?

2. Discuss what advantages there are to these exploits.

3. Discuss how these things hurt God and His plan for our lives

4. Discuss how God must feel about our rejection of His plan.

5. How would holy days look different if these exploits were not there?

6. What are some ways in which you can actively avoid these types of distractions?

7. In what ways do the people in your culture, even the religious, use minimalization, or legalism to deny God?

8. Discuss their point of view, where is it valid? Where does it fail?

9. Create an “apologetic” or an argument that defeats a legalistic point of view.

10. Practice debating with your group about the nature and practice of holy days…

11. Think about ways you can celebrate holy days without legalism or materialism.

12. Write a letter to God about what you learned.



You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:

Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference.


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