Jesus’ Life and Ministry
Zeal for Jehovah’s Worship
AFTER attending the wedding in Cana, Jesus travels to Capernaum, a city near the Sea of Galilee. With him are his disciples, his mother, and his brothers, who are James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. Before making this trip, however, they may have stopped first at Jesus’ home in Nazareth so that the family could pack the things they would need.
But why does Jesus go to Capernaum, rather than carry on his ministry in Cana, in Nazareth, or in some other place in the hills of Galilee? For one thing, Capernaum is more prominently situated and is evidently a larger city. Also, most of Jesus’ newly acquired disciples live in or near Capernaum, so they will not have to leave their homes to receive training from him.
During his stay in Capernaum, Jesus performs marvelous works, as he himself testifies some months later. But soon Jesus and his companions are on the road again. It is spring, and they are on their way to Jerusalem to attend the Passover of 30 C.E. While there, his disciples see something about Jesus that they have perhaps not seen before.
According to God’s Law, Israelites are required to make animal sacrifices. So, for their convenience, merchants in Jerusalem sell animals or birds for this purpose. But they are selling right inside the temple, and they are cheating the people by charging them too much.
Filled with indignation, Jesus makes a whip of ropes and drives the sellers out. He pours out the coins of the money changers and overturns their tables. “Take these things away from here!” he cries out to those selling the doves. “Stop making the house of my Father a house of merchandise!”
When Jesus’ disciples see this, they remember the prophecy about God’s Son: “The zeal for your house will eat me up.” But the Jews ask: “What sign have you to show us, since you are doing these things?” Jesus answers: “Break down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews assume that Jesus is talking about the literal temple, but he is talking about the temple of his body. And three years later his disciples remember this saying of his when he is raised from the dead. John 2:12-22; Matthew 13:55; Luke 4:23.
◆ After the wedding in Cana, to what places does Jesus travel?
◆ Why is Jesus indignant, and what does he do?
◆ What do Jesus’ disciples recall on seeing his actions?
◆ What did Jesus say about “this temple,” and what did he mean?