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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: February 7, 2024

All four of the Gospels tell us the story of Christ cleansing the temple, this event where Jesus enters His Father’s house during the Passover season, becomes filled with anger, and drives out the money changers and those who are selling animals. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all place the cleansing of the temple near the end of their Gospels, just a few days before Christ’s passion. But, intriguingly, John places this event near the beginning of his gospel. Why is that?

Some have speculated that this is because the cleansing of the temple happened on two separate occasions, both around that respective year’s Passover. But I think the answer is that John places his account of the cleansing of the temple near the beginning of his Gospel for thematic and not chronological purposes. That is, he presents it as happening near the beginning of Christ’s ministry not because that’s when the event actually took place, but because this is the event through which John wants us to understand the ministry of Christ.

Who is Jesus? As John the Baptist told us in the previous chapter, He’s the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise made in every sacrificial animal, in particular the Passover Lamb. All these animals that the Israelites were called to sacrifice, they can now all be set free. Their flesh can remain unpierced, their blood unspilled because the One who will be pierced and who will shed his blood for His people has now arrived. In Jesus Christ, you have the true Lamb, the true temple come to give free salvation. And yet, here in the temple, you have people selling salvation, selling a shadow of the Savior while the Savior Himself is right in front of them. And so Jesus drives them out, consumed with righteous zeal for His Father’s house and for His flock.

So remember the lesson of the temple’s cleansing. Jesus is free. His forgiveness, His blood, His mercy, His love. There is no charge for any of these. No one is allowed to sell them to you. They are yours, eternally, in every moment of your existence. So cling to the salvation of your Passover Lamb. Don’t let anybody try to sell you a program or a tool to open the doors of the kingdom that Jesus kicked wide open in His death and resurrection. Because of Jesus Christ, salvation is free and the priceless treasures of God’s kingdom are now yours.

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