Gracia M. Grindal
Gracia M. Grindal is professor emeritus of rhetoric at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The binary world of John’s Gospel is well drawn in Jesus’ talk here, and unknowns frame the verse. How could a God of love condemn people? What does it mean to be in darkness?
It’s hard to deny these little echoes of the synoptics which John reshapes for his own dramatic purposes. It seems narratively wrong for Jesus to cleanse the temple at the beginning of his ministry rather than at the climactic end. It makes more sense if one hears Luke in the background ever so slightly—Jesus’ claiming of the temple as his father’s house and his identity as the Son. Here in John, he has just performed a miracle at his mother’s behest, bringing spirit into the most fleshly event of human life. Now he goes to what is supposedly a spiritual place and finds only flesh. No wonder he is annoyed.
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