Travelling Images – Cleansing the Temple

In the book, On the Way to the Cross, the reading was in John 2 where Jesus cleared out the temple of the money changers.  There is a quote from St. Augustine (5th C) who spoke of those who came to church not to be redeemed but to make a profit.  Origen (3rd C) spoke of the love of money invading the human heart.

How far can the image of money changing in the place of worship be taken?  Is it only a historical reference about Jesus view of worship in his time?  Can it be compared by analogy to commercialism within the church (profit instead of worship in the place or worship)?  How about the individual believers heart (where we are seen individually as a temple, a place where God dwells by his spirit)?

As far as authoritative teaching, we ought to as a rule of thumb travel conservatively – making sure we have a clear path from one location to another.  Can we draw a principle that the worship of God should not be derailed by financial gain?  but for a meditative, personal reading, we can have more freedom to explore the image.

The Church Fathers, the Medieval Church and even the Reformers were not above taking trips on images.  some are justified and some are not.  Read some 19th and early 20th Century christian preachers, and you will find the same. However, the books on interpretation (hermeneutics) usually frown on this sort of thing.

When the New Testament seems to do this with the Old Testament.  Matthew 2:15 quotes Hosea 11:1 in reference to Jesus being taken as a child to Egypt.  But the original reference in Hosea was to the nation being called out of Egypt at the Exodus.  Some accuse Matthew of an error.  However, it also seems that Matthew along with the Apostles at large made an analogy between the life of Jesus and the life of the nation. (To and from Egypt, 40 years/days in the desert, mana/bread in the wilderness, 12 tribes/apostles, etc).  Matthew uses that principle to make his reference “work.”

The long and short of it is to make the leap with thought and care – or your conclusion could take the path of Wile E Coyote, over the cliff and into the void.



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