The cleansing of the temple in John 2 video

The gospel lectionary reading for Lent 3 in Year B is John 2.13–22, the Fourth Gospel’s account of Jesus ‘cleansing’ the temple and driving out the traders and money-changers. After quite a bit of immersion in passages from Mark’s gospel, it is an interesting contrast to be back in John. No driving narrative here, but a much more crafted, ‘literary’ shape to the passage, with careful structuring. And instead of teaching us things through the placing of one event after another—communicating by putting things next to each other in parataxis—this gospel does its work by double meaning—communicating by overlaying things on top of one another!

Our passage follows on from the miracle of water into wine at the wedding at Cana, but in between there is a brief topographical and temporal reference: ‘He went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days’ (John 2.12). The comment combining his biological family and the new family of faith is intriguing; we only know of Capernaum as his ministry base from Matthew 4.13, but here as elsewhere the writer of the Fourth Gospel assumes that we have read the other three.

Here is my video commentary. If you think others would find it helpful, you can use the Share button on the YouTube site, and to catch future videos click Subscribe at the end of the video or on the YouTube page.

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2 thoughts on “The cleansing of the temple in John 2 video”

  1. Thanks for the video Ian. I found it really helpful and interesting. On the historical detail of 46 years after the temple was built, it’s interesting to cross reference this with the chronologies in the other gospels. According to Luke 3.1 John the Baptist started his ministry in AD28. This suggests that Jesus started his public ministry some time soon after that, which would fit with the estimate of 29/30 for John 2. This also suggests that Jesus’ ministry was around 4 years, perhaps as much as 5 years. And if Jesus was born at the end of Herod the Great’s reign as Matthew and Luke record, let’s say 5BC, then he was at least 33 when he was baptized and started his public career, and 37/38 when he was crucified. At one level none of these details matter that much, but I find more and more that it’s really important evangelistically to be able confidently to present the gospel narratives as real history.


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