March 11, late meditation Sunday B Lectionary 29
Scripture: Lectionary 29 March 11, 2012: Exodus 20:1-17. I Cor.1:22-25. Psalm 19: 188.8.131.52:
We often wonder why John’s Gospel is so different from the Synoptic Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. The fact that it is the last is an important reason why it differs from the earlier accounts of Jesus’ ministry and even of his early years. John has no Infancy Narratives. Another reason is that he is more theological than the other four by showing us the transcendence of Jesus as the Word of God. The Prologue gives us a panoramic view of what John is revealing to us and helps us to frame each of the chapters within our minds and hearts.
Our passage for today is Jesus cleansing the Temple in Jerusalem. He drives out the money changers and overturns their tables. The scene fits better at the end of the Gospels where the other Evangelists place it. John may have a theological reason for doing this as he presents it as a foreshadowing of the Passion and Death of Jesus with a strong assertion of his Resurrection. “Destroy this Temple (his body) and I will raise it up on the third day.” Like the Prologue this mention of his being in Jerusalem and cleansing the Temple shows us at the beginning of chapter two his early ministry while the scene from today’s Gospel foreshadows the end of his work on earth through his passion, death, and resurrection.
John, unlike the other writers, has Jesus’ ministry extending three Passovers and it is in this Gospel that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John is not unfamiliar with the historical sites and dates of the life of Jesus. We hear from the leaders that “This Temple has taken forty-six years to build and you are going to raise it up in three days!” This historical mention of 46 years helps us to place the historical life of Jesus within the time of the Herods thus we can surmise that he died near 28-33 A.D. Probably closer to 28 A.D. than the traditional 33 years we have heard from our youth. John is also summarizing the active ministry and its purpose with this pericope by referring to the signs Jesus was performing and the belief of many in his person—a key phrase that summarizes the first 12 chapters of the Gospel of John. We are being taught the theology of the Evangelist who was a deep thinker and Jewish mystic of the first century who had a profound sense of the meaning of Jesus life in real historical time as well as in the mystery of God’s plan in salvation history. During this season of Lent we are asked to deepen our faith in the very Person of Jesus. The Gospel of John is a source for our reflecting in the way John did through his personal and inspired faith in the Person of Jesus.
The selection from Paul tells us this Jesus is the Christ who is the power of God and the wisdom of God. He reminds us not to think to highly of our own reasoning and theologizing: “For God’s folly is wiser than men, and his weakness more powerful than men.” (I Cor.1:25). Amen.