The First Cleansing
of the Temple
John 2:12-22
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John 2:12-22

After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his
disciples: and they continued there not many days.

And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the
temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And
when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the
sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And
said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an
house of merchandise.
And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that
thou doest these things?

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in
three days?

But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his
disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and
the word which Jesus had said. (John 2:12-22 KJV)

You know that if Jesus did this today a bunch of
“Christians” would tell Jesus he was not acting like

Jesus, his mother, his siblings and his disciples went to Capernaum, but they did not spend
much time there.

The Passover required the Jewish men to present themselves in Jerusalem. Jesus, being a Jew,
went to Jerusalem and was appalled by what He saw at the Temple. Inside the house of God they
were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and tables were set up for the money changers.
Enraged, Jesus made a whip of rope, he drove the livestock and their handlers out of the temple,
and overthrew the tables of the money changers, scattering their funds. He told those who were
selling doves to take their merchandise elsewhere. To all He said, Make not my Father’s house
an house of merchandise.

It is not a sin to become angry. It is a sin to become angry without a proper reason. And, it is a sin
to loose control when you are angry. As the old saying goes “get angry, not mad.”

a{Raca: that is, Vain fellow} Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that
thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be
reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly,
whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and
the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt
by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. (Matthew 5:21-26 KJV)

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
(Ephesians 4:26-27 KJV)

Now was fulfilled in measure the prophecy of Malachi: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he
shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his
temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith
the Lord of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he
appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' sope: and he shall sit as a refiner and
purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they
may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." [Malachi 3:1-3 - rlr] With like zeal will he
drive out of his church all who seek their own advancement, and turn the worship of God into a
means of gain for themselves.  This was the first occasion upon which our Lord purged the
temple, and he had to repeat the work a second time. Nothing is so hard to cleanse as a place
which has once been holy and has become defiled.  It does not seem that any one opposed the
Lord Jesus; the majesty of his appearance probably held all in check.
        Spurgeon’s Devotional Commentary

The disciples remembered the prophecy of the Psalms:

For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached
thee are fallen upon me. (Psalms 69:9 KJV)

Exercising such authority in driving the livestock and money changers from the Temple, the Jews
wanted an indication of who or what had given Him the right to do it. Many were the times God
had given the people a sign, or wonder, or miracle, to verify His will.

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my
words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall
come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my
name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my
name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other
gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word
which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the
thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the
prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:18-
22 KJV)

The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass,
then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him. (Jeremiah 28:9 KJV)

In answer to their request for a sign, Jesus tells them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I
will raise it up.

It had taken Herod forty-six years to build the Temple. They mistook the words of Jesus to refer to
the building they stood in. How could this son of a carpenter rebuild it in three days? But He
spake of the temple of His body.

The sign, the wonder, the miracle that would beyond a shadow of a doubt demonstrate Who He
was, and by Whom He was given His power and authority was His resurrection from the grave.

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew
them a sign from heaven.  He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will
be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the
sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not
discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and
there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and
departed. (Matthew 16:1-4 KJV – see also Luke 11:29,30)

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son
Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And
declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the
resurrection from the dead: {declared: Gr. determined} By whom we have received grace
and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: (Romans 1:1-5

After the resurrection the disciples remembered what Jesus had said on this occasion, and
believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is
the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and
bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:25-26 KJV)