John 2:13–22 (NRSV)
Verse 13The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Verse 14In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Verse 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. Verse 16He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!" Verse 17His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me." Verse 18The Jews then said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?" Verse 19Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Verse 20The Jews then said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?" Verse 21But he was speaking of the temple of his body. Verse 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
Jesus is angry. His father’s house has become a marketplace. This scene in an ancient temple is not unlike one he might also find in our day, where we turn almost every aspect of our lives into a commodity for exchange.
We carefully market our spiritual and religious identities. We turn our deepest convictions into brands we buy and sell. We develop innovative strategies for undercutting our competition and increasing our market share in an increasingly cutthroat religious and spiritual marketplace. We compare ourselves based on the amount we can
charge for our services.
Amid all this, Jesus’ zealous rage indicts us. It reminds us that his body is our only temple, a body crucified by religious and political powers, and the economies of exchange that sustained them. Wherever sin, pain, and death haunt us, and the promise of resurrection brings new life—that is where God dwells among us.
O God, give us eyes to see that—even amid the insidious ways we commodify ourselves—you still dwell among us in the Messiah’s crucified body, creating life and righteousness wherever death and injustice are at work. Amen.