Another post concerning Easterish things.... kinda

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 22:15 — Carrie

 After Jesus had entered Jerusalem, three of the gospels record a certain event immediately following. Jesus goes to the temple.


This is the natural thing to do. Jesus would often go straight to the temple upon entering a city. We see that several times. It was his custom to go to the temple on the Sabbath, as well. And this was Jerusalem. Naturally Jesus would want to go to the famed Solomon's Temple.  When he gets there, however, a crazy scene meets his eyes.

We don't know what he wanted to do at the temple. Perhaps he went to pray. Perhaps he knew what he would see there. Perhaps he went with the express purpose of clearing the temple. We really don't know. What we do know, is what he did at the temple.

When he entered, the first thing he saw was the outer part of the temple filled with people of commerce. Buyers, sellers, money-lenders. People bustling everywhere taking care of business. And why not? It was, after all, passover time. Many, many people were filling Jerusalem and they all needed sacrifices. Doves galore. And money. Lots of people wouldn't have exact change. Perhaps there were even trading booths, for people who didn't have the cold hard cash. The point is, there were many many people there interested in only one thing. Money. And Jesus didn't like that very much.

So what does he do? What would you do? Well, I know what I would probably have done, faced with the same situation. One of two things. Either ignore it, and quietly disapprove, or go up to the people and quietly explain that what they are doing is not a very appropriate activity for the House of God. More likely the first. I'm not very confrontational. Not Jesus, however. He doesn't even quietly ask them to leave. He doesn't even give them a chance. He takes immediate and violent action.

Tables flip! Money goes flying! Doves everywhere! People are probably running and hiding from this madman. And he doesn't stop at just upsetting their merchandise. No, he actually takes a whip and runs the vendors out of the temple! Talk about a lunatic! I'm sure he got more than one disapproving glare that day. And a lot of freaked out people running home. I can just imagine the dinner table conversations that night.

"How was the temple today?"

"Oh man, you should have been there! There was this crazy guy chasing out all the merchants! Something about it being a house of prayer..."

Yeah. They got that right. How exactly are you supposed to worship God when all around you are people trying to sell you something? What happened to, as Jesus put it, the house of prayer? There's nothing wrong with buying and selling, but don't take advantage of the House of God to do it. Besides, I'm pretty sure there was a lot of dishonesty going on that day in the temple. Jesus doesn't say they've turned it into a Den of Thieves for nothing.  

We don't have this kind of situation today. You're probably not gonna  walk into church this week and find the foyer full of tables set up, and people buying and selling things, and being dishonest about it, and only out for their own profit. 

But we do see disrespect in the church the world over. People who don't have a respect for either the earthly house of God, or even God himself. People who use God's name, and places that should be reserved for God's purposes, to benefit only themselves. 

I can't even imagine how discouraging it would have been for Jesus, knowing what he was about to do that week, to walk into the Temple, the place where he should have found the greatest respect for his Father, and instead find the same sinful things going on as anywhere else. No wonder he acted as he did.






One other thing I have heard

One other thing I have heard is that the outer court, which the sellers had filled up with their wares, was the only part of the temple to which Gentiles had access. By putting their tables and merchandise there, they were effectively preventing attendance by any Gentiles. Withholding access was something I believe Jesus took very seriously....


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