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Jesus Cleansing the TempleChristian activism, maligned by many, has one prominent stand-out exemplar – the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus described in today’s text in John 2:13-22. 

Holding passive sit-ins at parliamentary offices seems mild compared to the passionate action of Jesus turning over moneychanger’s tables and fashioning a scourge to drive animals from the temple precincts.

Both evoke the question that bridges the ages, “By what authority do you do these things?”

The occasion in John’s gospel becomes an opportunity for reflection on how Jesus as the Christ embodies in his death and resurrection a new cosmic order. The Temple and its ways will be no more.

Christian activism similarly challenges the way things are with the way things might be according to the cosmic order of shalom ushered in by Jesus. It looks forward to the day when things, as they are, will be no more due to the spirit of the living Christ that is already at large amongst his followers, already practising shalom amongst themselves and eager and zealous to see it spread.