There are only a handful of stories that are told by all four Gospel writers of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). The stories of Jesus' birth, for example, are only told by Matthew and Luke. The Baptism of Jesus, and the death and resurrection of Jesus are, on the other hand, described in all four Gospels.
Among this select group of stories recounted in all four Gospels is the story commonly known as the Cleansing of the Temple. We are told by each Gospel writer that Jesus entered the temple and dramatically drove out those who bought and sold, overturning tables and condemning those who used the temple for their own benefit, rather than for the glory of God. There are minor differences in the way each writer describes the events, but there is one significant difference in John's version. While Matthew, Mark and Luke place this story toward the end of Jesus’ ministry, John places the story near the beginning. Perhaps there were two different, but similar events. Or perhaps the Gospel writers arranged their material differently.
In either case, the story tells us a lot about Jesus and his ministry, and is rich with spiritual meaning. This Sunday, we will be hearing Luke’s version (BCP p. 234) and I will be reflecting on this event in my sermon.
I hope you can join us at St. Olave’s for Holy Communion at 8:30 a.m. or 10:30 a.m., and hear again God's word for us in this important episode of Jesus’ life.