John 2:11-25

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.
13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

[And the Jews passover was at hand] This was the reason he stayed but a few days at Capernaum, as he wished to be present at the celebration of this feast at Jerusalem.
This was the first passover after Christ's baptism. The second is mentioned in Luke 6:1. The third in John 6:4. The fourth was that at which he was crucified, John 11:55. From this is appears that 1. Our blessed Lord continued his public ministry about three years and a half, and, 2. That having been baptized about the beginning of his thirtieth year, he was crucified in the middle of his thirty third.

14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

[Found in the temple those that sold oxen...] This is a similar fact to that mentioned in Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15, Luke 19:45. It appears that Jesus cleansed the temple twice, here, in the first weeks of his public ministry and again during the last week of his life. The vindication of God's house from profanation was the first and last care of our Lord and it is probable that he began and finished his public ministry by this significant act.

15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

[The zeal of thine house] See Psalm 69:9. Zeal to promote thy glory and to keep thy worship pure.

18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

[What sign showest thou] When Moses came to deliver Israel he gave signs, or miracles, to show that he acted under a divine commission. What miracle do you work to show us that you are vested with a similar authority?

19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

[Destroy this temple] The explicit Greek words are, this very temple; perhaps pointing to his body at the same time.

20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

Forty and six years was this temple in building] The temple of which the Jews spoke was begun to be rebuilt by Herod the great in the 18th year of his reign. But, though he finished the main work in nine years and a half, yet additional building and repairs were carried on for many years afterwards. Herod began the work sixteen years before the birth of our Lord: the transaction which is here related took place in the thirtieth year of our Lord, which makes 46 years. Josephus tells us that the whole of the buildings belonging to the temple were not finished until Nero's reign, when Albinus, the Governor of Judea, was succeeded by Gessius Florus, which was eighty years after the eighteenth year of Herod's reign.

[Of the temple of his body] Rather, the temple, his body; his body was the temple of his Divinity - the place in which, as in the ancient temple, his Godhead dwelt. Notice how the chief priests and elders perverted his words, Matthew 26:60-61.

22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

[The deciples remembered...and they believed] See Matthew 12:40 and Matthew 27:63. Compare Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:31-32. They understood these scriptures in a way in which they had never before understood them.
It is the property of many prophecies never to be understood except by their accomplishment; but, when their fulfillment takes place, they cannot be misunderstood or applied to any other event.

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.

[Many believed in his name] They believed him to be the promised Messiah, but did not believe in him to the salvation of their souls: for we find from the following verse that their hearts were not at all changed, because our blessed Lord could not trust himself to them.

24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

[He knew all men] Jesus knew all things. Why? Because he made all things, and because he was the all-wise God, and he knew all men because he alone searches the heart and tries the reins. He knows who is sincere and who is hypocritical; he knows them in whom he can confide and those to whom he can neither trust himself or his gifts.
Reader, he also knows you; your cares, fears, perplexities, temptations, afflictions, desires and hopes; your helps and hinderances; the progress you have made in the Divine life, or your declention from it. If he knows you to be hypocritical or iniquitous, he looks upon you with abhorance; if he knows you to be of a meek and broken spirit, he looks on you with pity and delight. Take courage - you can say, "Lord, you know all things, you know that I do love you and mourn because I love and serve you so little. Help me to love, to understand, to respond, to serve."

Based upon excerpts from Adam Clarke's Commentary, 2nd edition published in New York by Lane and Scott, 1850. More recent editions may be purchased from


This page updated 10/19/2006

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