Greetings from Grace

Reflection for Sunday, March 7, 2021
John 2:13-22

Clearing a Path to Worship
In the gospel this Sunday, Jesus discovers that the temple has been turned from a place of worship into a marketplace. The predominance of the selling of animals and the exchanging of money for profit overshadow what is supposed to be the main activity in the temple, worshiping God. The vendors and moneychangers seem to be more interested in serving their own interests and greedily filling their purses with coins than in serving God and God’s people. Instead of helping people worship God, they are getting in the way. The commercialization of worship means that those who cannot afford the costs are unable to offer their worship to God, and money becomes a god more valued than the God to whom the temple was dedicated.

Jesus finds this situation unacceptable. The first commandment clearly states, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exod. 20:3). Jesus will not allow anything, especially money, to be given more devotion than God. In addition, Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth was to take away the barriers between humans and God, so that all people might be reconciled to God through him.

John’s gospel is unique among the four gospels in that it places the story of Jesus clearing the temple at the beginning, rather than the end, of Jesus’ ministry. This placement shows how John’s gospel emphasizes that Jesus has come to replace the temple. No longer will God’s presence be confined to a place, the temple, but instead, God’s presence is now embodied in the person of Jesus. Jesus welcomes all to him, and erects no barriers or limits on who can be his follower.
Taken from Sundays and Seasons ©2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission. Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #26650.

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