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3rd Sunday of Lent

Readings

Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 18:8-11
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
John 2:13-25

(remember to place your cursor over a reading reference to access the full text)

It’s comforting to know that Christ was angry on some occasions. We don’t often see the face of the angry Christ, in holy pictures for example. Everyone gets angry especially when others ridicule whatever is important to us, what means most to us. Anger is sometimes appropriate, even necessary and not of itself sinful. It is how it is expressed or dealt with which is important. We can deal with it constructively or destructively.

The temple was the holiest place in the culture and religion of Jesus and the disciples. It was where they went to celebrate the Passover. It was where they offered sacrifice of doves, pigeons and cattle. It had priests, an altar, and a sanctuary with the holy of holies. It was a place of prayer, of sacrifice, a meeting place where people came in contact with their God. It was sacred ground, a place to be respected. Here the things of God were to come first.

Jesus makes his point forcefully. The worship of money or idols of this world have no place in the temple, in God’s house. He also makes a second point. The temple and its ways of worship are to give way to a new dispensation. The old order will pass away. The temple worship will be reformed, replaced and cleansed. There will be no more blood sacrifices for soon Christ’s own blood will seal a new covenant. The Old Law will be fulfilled and fleshed out in the new law given at the Sermon on the Mount. The sacrifices or sin offerings will all be superseded by Christ’s one final self sacrifice. The Lamb of God eaten at a new Passover feast will commemorate the victory and the freedom Christ is to win for us. The new temple and meeting place is to be the resurrected body of Christ. He too, like the temple was fated to be abused, mocked, destroyed, but unlike the temple which fell in A.D. 70, never to be rebuilt, Christ overcame all powers, even death, and rose again, in the temple of his body.

This is the sign given to us so that we might come to belief. This is the new law, the new covenant sealed in his blood, the Good News of the Gospel given to us so that we may come to faith.