Scripture: John 2:13-24
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void, and darkness covered the deep, while the Spirit of God swept over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.
John’s Gospel is apparently the product of a community of Christian Jews who have been expelled from the synagogue because of their acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God. But, as the comparison of the opening verses of the two creation stories (see above) shows, they remain faithful to their Jewish vision of God as a loving and healing force in the world but, for them, expressed in his Son, Jesus.
This is why, in John 2:13-24, the writers feature an angry Jesus cleansing the Temple in Jerusalem to return it to the house of prayer it was intended to be and driving out the market held within it, a market that enriched the rulers and the men who sold the animals used for sacrifice in the Temple.
By the time John’s Gospel was being written, the Temple had alaready been destroyed by the Romans, so the writers feel comfortable stating that Jesus, when challenged, foretells his own death and resurrection three days later. This, of course, would be the sign which would convince many to convert to Christianity.
By Ed Petersen
God of Light, as I continue my journey through Lent, may each passage of scripture I read bring fresh insights to me about the ancient peoples who wrote the Bible and preserved it for my illumination. AMEN