Jesus Upends Temple Tables
Read Mark 11:15-21
JERUSALEM, Monday, spring ca. 30 a.d. – For the second day in a row, Jesus of Nazareth attracted public attention in the Jerusalem area. With worshipers gathered in the temple court (Court of the Gentiles), Jesus expressed great frustration with practices within the Court.
With obvious, but controlled anger, Jesus began by driving people from the temple. His efforts seemed targeted against those both offering and engaging in the services of money exchange and dove sales. Simeon, a man helping with money exchange described what they had experienced, “He just came in citing the prophet Isaiah calling the temple a ‘house of prayer for the nations’ and calling those of us offering the services ‘robbers.’”
As He drove people from the temple, He also overturned the tables and benches used by those exchanging money and selling doves. Joseph, a man selling doves, reported, “We [money changers and dove sales people] are just there to offer a service of convenience.” The Law requires the payment of a half-shekel temple tax and the offering of the right kind of animals. Joseph continued, “For a small up-charge, we ensure that people have the right currency and the right animals.”
This event comes on the heels of the celebratory entrance of Jesus into the city. After spending the night in Bethany on the outskirts of town, He came to Jerusalem again to turn the heads of some and the backs of others.
Temple officials reported that no one was injured in today’s unusual events.
Letter to the Editor:
While your comments accurately reflected the supposed intentions of money changers and those selling doves, reality is somewhat different. The upcharge is significant! People are gouging would be worshipers for personal profit. Not only that, but the whole temple atmosphere has become one marked by bartering rather than worshiping. The very space intended to welcome outsiders has become a circus for insiders.
I stand with Jesus on this one. I am setting aside personal gain in order to see the nations reached. May your church today be known for its prayerful commitment to the nations rather than its yearning for money! In fact, I will invite internationals to join me for Easter weekend at Grace Church.