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Reformation Study Bible – John 2:12–23
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John 2:12–23

2:12–23 Jesus is the final and full expression of what was only a shadow in the Old Testament (Heb. 10:1). Here He indicates that God is present in Him. The temple in Jerusalem could be destroyed, but not the temple that Jesus would rebuild in three days, His own body that was to be raised from the dead. John’s record of the temple cleansing immediately after the miracle at Cana (vv. 1–11 note) offers an important key to the whole of Jesus’ ministry. In these events are signaled replacement of the old order (water of ceremonial cleansing, Herod’s temple) with the new (the wine of salvation, Is. 25:6–9; the risen Lamb as the new temple, Rev. 21:22).

Matthew, Mark, and Luke report a cleansing of the temple in the week of Jesus’ crucifixion. In spite of some similarities, these are best viewed as different incidents (Mark 11:15 note). It is noteworthy that Jesus’ statement about destroying the temple, which John alone records (v. 19), probably was the basis for the accusation by the false witnesses (Matt. 26:61; Mark 14:58), and again for the taunting comment of some spectators at the crucifixion (Matt. 27:40; Mark 15:29). The first three Gospels confirm the historical character of John’s narrative. An echo of the same thought is found in the accusation against Stephen (Acts 6:14).