In the spring, Jesus went from Galilee to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival (28). There in Jerusalem, in the great temple itself, Jesus found merchants selling cattle, sheep & pigeons — which Jewish law required the worshipers to offer as sacrifices to God as part of the Passover Festival. In order to pay for these animals, the worshipers had to use special “temple money.” Other merchants were there in the temple, selling this “temple money” to the worshipers at unfair exchange rates.
So Jesus made a whip from cords and drove all the animals out of the temple! Then he ordered the men who sold the pigeons to take them out. Finally, Jesus overturned the money exchange tables, scattering all their coins & crying out: “Stop making my father’s house a marketplace!”
(As his students thought about this later, they remembered this verse from the inspired scriptures: “My devotion to your house, O God, burns in me like a fire.”)
The Jewish religious leaders immediately confronted Jesus with this question: “What miracle can you perform to show us that you have the right to clear out the temple like this?” Jesus said, “Tear down this temple, and I will build it again in 3 days.” “How can you possibly rebuild the temple in 3 days?” they asked him. “It took 46 years to rebuild it the last time it was destroyed!”
But the temple Jesus spoke of was his body. And later, when he rose from death, his friends remembered that he had made this comment to the Jewish religious leaders at the Passover.
They realized then that Jesus had known that he would be executed, and that he would rise from death! This gave them stronger trust in everything Jesus had taught them, and in everything the inspired scriptures had prophesied about Jesus.
(28) John 2:13-22