settings icon
share icon

Why did Jesus refer to the temple as “my Father’s house” (John 2:16)?

my Father’s house

Although Jesus is described in Scripture as a lamb (John 1:29; Acts 8:32), He wasn’t always gentle and quiet. In fact, He flipped tables on occasion, as recorded in John 2:16 when He cleansed the temple the first time. During that event, Jesus exclaimed, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

No morally upright person can remain silent in the face of abuse, especially when it occurs in one’s home. Jesus’ actions as He cleansed the temple were a just response to the exploitation by traders and money changers. Significantly, Jesus calls the temple His Father’s house. The temple was considered the house of the Lord: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7; cf. 1 Kings 6:1; 2 Chronicles 23:18; Haggai 1:8). So, when Jesus called the temple “my Father’s house,” He was stating, indirectly, that He was God’s Son.

Second Chronicles 7:16 is part of God’s response to Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple: “For I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” Solomon acknowledged the inadequacy of the temple to contain God (2 Chronicles 6:18), yet God condescended to call the place His home. The merchants and others present when Jesus cleansed the temple knew where they were: the chosen place set apart by God as a house of prayer and worship, a place where God Himself dwelled. Their dishonesty and greed were desecrating that holy place.

In John 2:17, the disciples recalled David’s words in Psalm 69:9: “For zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.” They made the connection between David of old and the Son of David who was just as zealous for God’s temple. In calling the temple “my Father’s house,” however, Jesus showed that He was more than the Son of David; He was the Son of God.

The New Testament truth is that believers are God’s temple, as articulated in 1 Corinthians 6:19–20: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16–17). As God’s presence indwelled the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:10–11), so God’s Spirit indwells those who belong to Christ (Romans 8:9). Just as the temple was rightly called God’s house, so we are rightly considered God’s property. We have been “bought at a price.” And, just as Jesus zealously defended the temple, we should zealously honor God with our bodies, casting out whatever defiles or detracts from the worship of the One who is worthy.

Return to:

Questions about John

Why did Jesus refer to the temple as “my Father’s house” (John 2:16)?
Subscribe to the

Question of the Week

Get our Question of the Week delivered right to your inbox!

Follow Us: Facebook icon Twitter icon YouTube icon Pinterest icon Instagram icon
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy
This page last updated: December 7, 2023