Cleansing and Covenant

Lent 3B (John 2: 13-25 & Exodus 20:1-17)
We really need to work hard to understand the real significance of the incident of Jesus going into and cleansing the temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Feast of Passover. There is nothing that comes remotely close in our experience. Doing the same in your local parish church, or even the largest church in our largest city is not the same. Because here, the temple is at the very heart of what it means to be a follower of the law – the temple represents the identity of the whole nation – socially, politically, historically – as well as spiritually. Jesus demonstrates the importance of what the temple is supposed to be about – but which it isn’t. He shows that the temple is about truth and freedom of worship.

By cleansing the temple at Passover, he also reminds the people of all that went with the liberation from slavery in Egypt. God brought together his chosen people to be his image-bearers in the world. He made covenant with them so that they could bring his justice into the world, and they could continue to hear the cry of the poor and the oppressed and bring freedom from slavery in their own lives and the lives of the nations around them. The commandments that the Lord gave on Mt Sinai are the means by which we can achieve this freedom and be his image bearers. Lent is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our own lives and consider what areas of slavery we may have fallen back into – to ask the Lord what things in my life need his cleansing presence so that we can be his true image bearers in the world.

Recorded at St Michael’s 8am (8’58”)

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