Author’s Note: It’s been said that familiarity breeds unsuspecting unfamiliarity. This series is meant to help your God-given imagination to see things that might feel familiar, but perhaps can be new again: the true events of the last week before Jesus’ death. These posts are adapted from a sermon, and were written with two texts for study: the Gospel accounts and The Final Days of Jesus by Köstenberger and Taylor.
Holy Week Series:
It’s Monday morning and Jesus is in the temple teaching—and not to a few people, but crowds. It was probably hard to find a seat (if it wasn’t standing room only).
He enters the temple, which was meant to be a house of prayer, full of people from all nations. He knows what it is full of now—a kind of strip mall or flea market of booths, tables and stalls of goods for sale—all to profit off the faithful who had come to obey God’s law.
It was an entire ecosystem dependent and preying upon the devotion of Jews to their God, and it made Jesus sick. This is probably the one time someone gets to really use the term righteous anger and no one questions it. Though we all like to think of our anger as righteous, there are few times when that’s really true—but this is the moment.
Jesus flips tables over. People are shouting. Coins spill and skitter across the stone floor. People push and dive to grab the money. Animals are squawking. There are angry voices and angry hearts, but only one that’s righteous. These guys are kicked, shooed and harassed out of their workplace, and they’re not happy about it—but they’ve been squatting in someone else’s space for way too long.
And Jesus isn’t having it. The chief priests, scribes and Pharisees are watching with a mix of emotions and thoughts, probably angry at what they’re seeing, because they have a profit share in the money on the ground and the guys who are now outside of the temple. Jesus has just threatened their bank accounts, and He’s created civil unrest. Both moves are threats to the religious leaders, and now He’s crossed civil lines, into Roman authority, by disturbing the peace.
Jesus spends the day teaching in a temple clear of mess, and then makes the hike back out to Bethany that night.