Third Sunday in Lent – Pair Year

Posté par diaconos le 27 février 2024

 19 Bible verses about God Giving Freely

# For this feast, there were between 300,000 and 400,000 pilgrims. Jesus visited the Temple in Jerusalem, where the courtyard was filled with livestock and money-changers’ tables, which changed standard Greek and Roman money into Jewish and Syrian money, the only two currencies accepted inside the Temple, allowing the purchase of sacrificial animals. The New Testament tells of Jesus driving out the merchants and money-changers who operated inside the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus and his disciples had arrived in Jerusalem for the Passover.

Jesus accused the merchants of turning the Temple into a den of thieves. In the Gospel according to John, Jesus referred to the Temple as my Father’s house and thus presented himself as the Son of God. In the Abrahamic religions, the faithful refer to God the Father. The Gospel according to John presents the only case in which Jesus used physical force against men. The story appears towards the end of the Synoptic Gospels (Mark 11:15-19, Matthew 21:12-17 and Luke 19:45-48) and towards the beginning of the Gospel according to John (John 2:13-16). Some authors thought that these were two separate incidents, given that the Gospel according to John also includes several accounts of the Jewish Passover.

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to John

As the Jewish Passover drew near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple he found merchants of oxen, sheep and doves, and money-changers. He made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the Temple, along with the sheep and oxen; he threw the money changers’ change on the ground, overturned their counters, and said to the dove dealers : « Take this away from here. Stop making my Father’s house a house of commerce. » 
His disciples remembered that it is written, « The love of your house will be my torment. »

Some Jews questioned him, « What sign can you give us for doing this ?  » Jesus answered them, « Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up. » The Jews replied : « It took forty-six years to build this sanctuary, and you would raise it up in three days ! » But he was talking about the sanctuary of his body. So when he rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. While he was in Jerusalem for the Passover feast, many people believed in his name because of the signs he was performing. But Jesus did not trust them, because he knew them all and needed no testimony about man; for he himself knew what was in man (Jn 2, 13-25)

God gives himself freely !

After performing his first miracle at Cana in Galilee, Jesus went to Jerusalem and went up to the Temple to pray and to preach the Good News he had come to bring to earth. But what a surprise it was to see the Temple of God, his Temple, filled with merchants and traders of all kinds ! God, in the person of Jesus, comes to his own house, and what does he find? People praying? Levites carrying out their ministry? Not at all! But merchants, traffickers, people who only seem to care about one thing: making money for their life on earth, instead of praying for the Father to welcome them into his heavenly home! The world upside down, you might say !

« He made a whip of cords, and drove them all out of the Temple, together with their flocks and herds; he threw the money-changers’ change on the ground, overturned their counters, and said to the dove-dealers, Take this away from here. Do not make my Father’s house a house of traffic. (Jn 2, 15-16) One mistake to avoid would be to think that Jesus, by driving the sellers out of the Temple, was showing violent contempt for commerce and traders. Christ’s premeditated act (he had to find ropes and make a whip, which takes time) means something quite different : the whole cult of the Temple, the whole religion, has become a business, a bargain, a story of « give and take ». And this is what Jesus violently challenges.

People came to the Temple to offer sacrifices. The rich offered, for example, an ox or a bull; the less wealthy offered a lamb and the poor a pair of doves. But these offerings were self-serving gestures : people gave in order to receive. The hope was that, thanks to this offering, they would in return receive God’s help in this or that matter, or to obtain health, or for any other request. Have we gone beyond that ? Not so sure! In reality, all too often we think that we have to deserve something, and that God doesn’t give anything for free. Jesus came to reveal something essential to us: God gives freely. He gives himself freely, even freely, without any merit on our part. 

We have to move on from the religion of the « Giver, Giver » to the religion of the acceptance of grace, the acceptance of God’s free gift. The great certainty of the whole Bible is that God wants man to be happy, and he gives him the means to do so, a very simple means : all he has to do is listen to the Word of God written in the Law and live by it. The path is signposted, and the commandments are like signposts by the roadside, alerting us to possible danger : « The commandment of the Lord is clear, it clears the way ». (Ps 18)

It is in our relationship with God that our faith is lived out, because in the end, it is wherever two or three are brought together in the name of Christ that we discover once again that we can neither control, nor negotiate, nor buy what gives meaning to our lives. Our faith must be lived out in abandonment and total trust in God.Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

NewSpring : click here to read the paperFreely You Have Received, Freely Give

◊ .Open the Bible : click here to read the article → God Gives Us Himself

Video God’s free gift : click here →

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