Third Sunday of Lent – Year B 6th /7th March, 2021

In John’s Gospel, hostility exists between Jesus and the Jews from the very beginning of his public ministry. This is probably a reflection of the situation in which John’s community finds itself: that of being excluded from the practice of Judaism after Christians had been ousted from synagogue worship. We should not, therefore, read this text as a criticism by Jesus of Judaism generally. If we read this text only as an example of Jesus’ righteous anger over the greed of those who controlled commerce in the temple precinct, we miss much of the point that John is making. The Jews believed that the offering of sacrifice to God in the temple was a central part of their religious observance. Jesus now brings that practice to an end. He speaks of his own body as the new temple, the new centre of worship. Effectively, Jesus is reinterpreting the religious traditions of the Jews to centre on himself. He becomes the physical embodiment of ‘my Father’s house’. He’s the living temple of the Father’s presence among us.