CCC 575 Many of Jesus’ deeds and words constituted a “sign of contradiction”,1 but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply “the Jews”,2 than for the ordinary People of God.3 To be sure, Christ’s relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting;4 Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes.5 Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God’s people: the resurrection of the dead,6 certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer),7 the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbor.8
CCC 583 Like the prophets before him Jesus expressed the deepest respect for the Temple in Jerusalem. It was in the Temple that Joseph and Mary presented him forty days after his birth.9 At the age of twelve he decided to remain in the Temple to remind his parents that he must be about his Father’s business.10 He went there each year during his hidden life at least for Passover.11 His public ministry itself was patterned by his pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great Jewish feasts.12
CCC 584 Jesus went up to the Temple as the privileged place of encounter with God. For him, the Temple was the dwelling of his Father, a house of prayer, and he was angered that its outer court had become a place of commerce.13 He drove merchants out of it because of jealous love for his Father: “You shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade. His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’”14 After his Resurrection his apostles retained their reverence for the Temple.15
CCC 586 Far from having been hostile to the Temple, where he gave the essential part of his teaching, Jesus was willing to pay the Temple-tax, associating with him Peter, whom he had just made the foundation of his future Church.16 He even identified himself with the Temple by presenting himself as God’s definitive dwelling-place among men.17 Therefore his being put to bodily death18 presaged the destruction of the Temple, which would manifest the dawning of a new age in the history of salvation: “The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”19
CCC 994 But there is more. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own person: “I am the Resurrection and the life.”20 It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood.21 Already now in this present life he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life,22 announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the “sign of Jonah,”23 the sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise thereafter on the third day.24
1 Lk 2:34.
2 Cf. Jn 1:19; 2:18; 5:10; 7:13; 9:22; 18:12; 19:38; 20:19.
3 Jn 7:48-49.
4 Cf Lk 13:31.
5 Cf. Lk 7:36; 14:1.
6 Cf. Mt 22:23-34; Lk 20:39.
7 Cf. Mt 6:18.
8 Cf. Mk 12:28-34.
9 Lk 2:22-39.
10 Cf. Lk 2 46-49.
11 Cf. Lk 2 41.
12 Cf. Jn 2 13-14; 5:1, 14; 7:1, 10, 14; 8 2; 10:22-23.
13 Cf. Mt 21:13.
14 Jn 2:16-17; cf. Ps 69:10.
15 Cf. Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:20, 21; etc.
16 Cf. Mt 8:4; 16:18; 17:24-27; Lk 17:14; Jn 4:22; 18:20.
17 Cf. Jn 2:21; Mt 12:6.
18 Cf. Jn 2:18-22.
19 Jn 4:21; cf. 4:23-24; Mt 27:5; Heb 9:11; Rev 21:22.
20 Jn 11:25.
21 Cf. Jn 5:24-25; 6:40,54.
22 Cf. Mk 5:21-42; Lk 7:11-17; Jn 11.
23 Mt 12:39.
24 Cf. Mk 10:34; Jn 2:19-22.