Jesus Clears the Temple, When?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by drfuss, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. drfuss

    drfuss
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    In John 2, Jesus clears the temple of money changers, animals, etc., at the beginning of his ministry. In Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus cleared the temple of the money changers, animals, etc., in the latter part of his ministry. I have heard two explanations for this difference in time.

    1. There were two times that Jesus cleared the temple.
    2. There was only one time Jesus cleared the temple, but middle east writers are only concerned with the events themselves and not concerned about the sequence of events.

    Anyone have any other explanations?

    What do you think about this?
     
  2. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    Two different descriptions, two different events.

    In John, Jesus was immediately confronted by temple officials who asked, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things ?" John revealed that the Lord responded by pointing to His future Resurrection: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19, 22). There is no mention of this confrontation or Christ’s prophecy in Matthew, Mark, or Luke.

    In contrast to this, the Synoptics record that following the second cleansing, Jesus began to teach those who were in the temple and heal the blind and lame that came to Him.

    John wrote that Jesus made a whip of cords and then drove out the money changers. The Synoptics do not mention a whip at all.

    The words that Jesus spoke while cleansing the temple are different. As cited above regarding the first temple-cleansing, the Lord stated, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business." (John 2:16). However, during the second cleansing Jesus said, "It is written, 'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a ROBBERS' DEN." (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46). While the message was similar, the words Jesus used to convey His message were different.

    Some may wonder at the plausibility of Jesus cleansing the temple on two occasions, but there is no reason to doubt that He would do this. Remember, Jesus often confronted the religious leaders and challenged their hypocrisy. In this case, the money changers were guilty of turning worship into a matter of convenience while stealing from the people by charging exorbitant prices for substandard sacrificial animals. Instead of following God’s command to offer pure, spotless lambs from their own flocks at Passover (Exodus 12:5), many Jews were guilty of commercializing this process. They simply traveled to Jerusalem and purchased animals from the market at the temple. This is not what the Lord commanded.

    Jesus challenged these ungodly practices and urged the people to obey God rather than convenience. In doing so, He also angered Caiaphas, the high priest, whose family was in charge of the money changing in the temple. Not only did the Lord’s actions challenge the authority of Caiaphas, they also hurt his family’s financial holdings since they had grown rich from the sale of sacrificial animals. (The respected historian Alfred Edersheim explained that both Josephus and the Rabbinic writings claim that Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, was in charge of the “Temple-market.” The Rabbinic writings referred to this market as the “Bazaars of the sons of Annas” while Josephus claimed that Annas (the son of the high priest Annas) was very rich and guilty of “despoiling by open violence the common priests of their official revenues.” Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Two Volumes in One, 8th edition (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1896), pp. 371–372.)

    Just as the Old Testament revealed that God was zealous for true worship from His people, Jesus demonstrated that obedience is better than sacrifice. Since Annas and Caiaphas refused to shape up following the first temple-cleansing in John 2, Jesus took another opportunity to remind the people of the importance of true worship.
     
  3. Greektim

    Greektim
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    I stated a thread a while back about this (here)

    My answer was this:
    John mentions a judgment early in his gospel, although that is not necessarily chronological but theological placement (perhaps). The easiest explanation I can come up with is that the Jesus tradition passed on a temple judgment and the evangelist used the occasion theologically to make a great doctrinal point. Therefore, I am leaning that Jesus only judged the temple once towards the end of his ministry thus giving the Jews a reason to kill Jesus. John mentions the temple judgment early to set up the theological point early in the gospel account that Jesus is the new temple, God's presence is amongst his people again, and it is his presence that is to be sought after (Jn 1:14; 2:19-21).
     
  4. Greektim

    Greektim
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    An added caveat... I think harmonization amongst the gospel accounts is counter to what the genre of "gospel" is all about. They were intended to be read vertically not horizontally. I want to understand Luke on his own terms, not what Matthew may have meant and bring that over to Luke. I don't think the shared tradition they used was always used in the same way and with the same meaning (the use of Isa. 61 is a great example between Luke and Matthew). I also think that the axiom that the text and not the event is inspired is important. I don't interpret the event. I interpret the text. Even (especially) when the text disagrees amongst the accounts. I don't think this is a chronological disagreement b/c I don't think John is being chronological.
     
  5. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    Excellent choice to add the word "perhaps." John is the most chronological of the four gospels, therefore it is highly unlikely he chose to site an event out of order to set the stage. The reality is, there is no evidence any of the gospels is not chronological in nature. Jesus cleansed the temple at least twice.
     
  6. Greektim

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    John is not chronological in the sense you mean. He has time markers, but that doesn't require that every story or event is sequential to one another.

    And it is easy to prove that the gospels are not all chronological in nature... the order for some of the same events and miracles happen in different orders. Just compare Matthew's miracles in chs 8-9 w/ Mark and Luke.

    Jesus may have cleansed the temple twice, but the way oral tradition works, the 4 accounts are likely sharing a tradition. John, for theological purposes (temple theme) places it early on to make a great theological point. Chs. 2--5 are a unified and thematically tied. So their themes (such as temple and the presence of God) would be the thrust, not the chronology of what is mentioned.

    PS... your understanding of how the genre of "gospel" works is fairly weak considering the evidence.
     

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