Friends, in today’s Gospel, we see Jesus cleansing the temple. What did it mean for a provincial prophet to come into the holy city of Jerusalem and make a ruckus in the temple? Well, you can probably imagine. To make matters worse, Jesus says something that is as shocking as his actions. He says, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” No wonder it was precisely this act that led to his crucifixion.
So what was he doing and why? First, in showing his lordship over even this most sacred symbol, he was announcing who he was. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus acts in the person of God. Secondly, he was instituting a new Temple, the Temple of his crucified and risen body. Jesus himself is the place where God dwells, and we, in the measure that we are grafted onto him, are temples of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is passing judgment on all of the inadequate, corrupt forms of human religion and is establishing the new and eternal covenant, the new Temple, in his own person.