I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east.
God is our refuge and our strength.
1 Corinthians 3:9-11,16-17
You are the temple of God.
He spoke about the temple of his own body.
Background on the Gospel Reading
The story of the cleansing of the Temple is found in all four Gospels. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is upset with the deceitful practices of the vendors and expels them for that reason. But in John, Jesus' authority is contrasted with the authority of the Temple cult and is a criticism of the cult itself.
The story is composed of two parts, Jesus' action in the Temple and Jesus' predictions about the Temple's destruction. The time of year is the sacred feast of Passover. If the many pilgrims to Jerusalem during Passover were to have animals for the sacrificial rituals of the feast, it was necessary to sell cattle in the Temple and to change the unclean Roman money. By denouncing this, Jesus is cutting to the core of the Temple cult.
The story is really about Jesus' fate, not the Temple's fate, revealing that Jesus, not the Temple, is the locus of God's presence on earth. As they often do in John, the Jews misunderstand Jesus' words. This gives John the chance to explicitly state his point. Although this is the beginning of his ministry, Jesus is already speaking of his coming death and Resurrection.
John intentionally integrates a post-Resurrection perspective into the Gospel narrative. The statement that concludes this passage uses the fact of the Resurrection to prove the point of Jesus' words. Believers need to remember the words and actions of Jesus and claim them as affirmations of the truths of their faith.
Christians sometimes point to Jesus' anger in this passage as a way to point out Jesus' humanity. But this would miss the powerful point of the entire Gospel, that the Word became flesh. The point is not that Jesus' anger proves he is human. It is that a human being, in his words and actions, can claim the authority of God.