After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.
The wedding was over and Jesus, His family and disciples went down to Capernaum by the sea of Galilee. This would become Jesus’ base of operations, although much of His time would be spent elsewhere. He didn’t stay long in Capernaum this time because the Passover was approaching.
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
John and the others followed Jesus. I picture them travelling to Jerusalem with a sense of pride and optimism. They have found the Messiah and enjoy being identified as His closest disciples. When they get to the big city and the temple, everyone will be able to see and hear Jesus for themselves and believe. They look forward not only to seeing Jesus honored, but themselves as well.
In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 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. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
Hmmm… perhaps this wasn’t the kind of fame they were looking for. The boat should have been rocked a little more gently. If Jesus would only have spent some time teaching and doing a few miracles first, maybe everyone would have come around to His point of view, and this uncomfortable situation would have been avoided.
Whatever they were thinking at the moment, eventually a phrase from the Psalms came to mind…
His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
Have you ever seen pictures of some great natural wonder, then be disappointed when you finally get to see it for real? My wife and I went to Niagara Falls several years ago. The falls were awesome – better than expected, but the commercialization was very disappointing to me. There was all the glitz of Las Vegas, everything was expensive, and the food quality was unimpressive. This detracted from the whole experience. But the disappointment I felt was nothing like what Jesus felt at the commercialization of His Father’s house.
David wrote much of God’s dwelling place in Jerusalem. Even before Solomon replaced the tabernacle with a more majestic structure, David wrote of the temple of God’s holiness (Psalm 5:7, 11:4, 65:4, 138:2). He longed to live there so he could always see the beauty of the Lord (Psalm 27:4).
The descendants of Korah also spoke of the blessing of living continually in God’s house (Psalm 84:4). They said, “a day in your courts is better than a thousand. I had rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10).
When the Son of David entered the temple, instead of the smell of incense, there was the smell of manure. Instead of quiet reverence, prayer, and talk of the Lord, there was the sound of bargaining and the clink-clink of money changing hands. The Lamb of God was born in a stable, and it became a place of worship. Now He visits the center of Jewish worship and finds it has become a stable. Jesus was incensed. Making a whip He chased the drachma-worshippers out of the temple.
I like to think the temple cleansing became an annual event for the next few years. The buyers and sellers would see Jesus coming and quickly try to grab their things before they were chased out.