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’ zeal for his father’s house rings through the centuries. In a world increasingly subject to a global market, we are often oblivious to the ways we commodify ourselves and others—even the things of God—in order to secure some advantage. Echoing the prophets and psalmists, Jesus’ speech and actions in this story remind us that he is the Passover that liberates us from the demonic grip of our dehumanizing ways of perceiving and responding to other people.
Indeed, Jesus’ body enacts a very different kind of exchange—one that stands in sharp contrast to the ways we turn others and ourselves into commodities measured by our value on a market. In this alternative exchange, we become signs of God’s temple—the Messiah’s body for one another and the rest of the world—precisely when our overflow of resources provides for another’s need, even as their overflow provides for our need.
Dear Jesus, we are grateful that through your crucified body, you transform our commodifying exchanges into generative relationships that deepen our connection with you and with one another. Amen.