Jesus in the Temple ISBE

The chronological sequence of the Fourth Gospel depends very much upon the visits of Jesus to the temple at the great festivals (see JESUS CHRIST). At the first of these occurred the cleansing of the temple-court--the court of the Gentiles--from the dealers that profaned it (Jn 2:13 ff), an incident repeated at the close of the ministry (Mt 21:12 ff and parallel's). When the Jews, on the first occasion, demanded a sign, Jesus spoke of the temple of His body as being destroyed and raised up in three days (Jn 2:19), eliciting their retort, "Forty and six years was this temple in building," etc. (Jn 2:20). This may date the occurrence about 27 AD. At the second cleansing He not only drove out the buyers and sellers, but would not allow anyone to carry anything through this part of the temple (Mk 11:15-17). In Jn His zeal flamed out because it was His Father's house; in Mk, because it was a house of prayer for all nations (compare Isa 56:7). With this non-exclusiveness agrees the word of Jesus to the woman of Samaria: "The hour cometh, when neither in this mountain (in Samaria), nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father" (Jn 4:21). During the two years following His first visit, Jesus repeatedly, at festival times, walked in the temple-courts, and taught and disputed with the Jews. We find Him in Jn 5 at "a feast" (Passover or Purim?); in John 7; 8, at "the feast of tabernacles," where the temple-police were sent to apprehend Him (7:32,45 ff), and where He taught "in the treasury" (8:20); in Jn 10:22 ff, at "the feast of the dedication" in winter, walking in "Solomon's Porch." His teaching on these occasions often started from some familiar temple scene--the libations of water carried by the priests to be poured upon the altar (Jn 7:37 ff), the proselytes (Greeks even) in the great portico (Jn 12:20 ff), etc. Of course Jesus, not being of the priestly order, never entered the sanctuary; His teaching took place in the several courts open to laymen, generally in the "treasury" (see Jn 8:20).

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