The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
From Deb Peeples
Running the money changers out of the temple
Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover of the Jews. When he arrived, “he found, in the temple, those who sold oxen and sheep and doves and the money changers doing business.” This was not unusual because worship in the temple required sacrifices, and most people purchased an unblemished sacrificial animal at the temple. They couldn’t use regular money from the secular world for purchases, but rather had to exchange it for holy money.
We can imagine that these necessary services were also disruptive…animals making noises, people talking loudly or shouting, vendors charging unfair practices and competing with fellow vendors. No wonder Jesus overturned tables with his whip made of cord and told the sellers to take the doves away! It would be really hard to pray or to worship with all of this chaos, particularly if you were part of the crowd that could only worship in the outermost court of the temple. It was more of a “house of merchandise” than a house of worship. All were invited but not equally included, treated or affirmed.
Jesus was making the point that day, I think, that God is for everyone, all inclusive. And that we need to make room for all, notice injustice, treat each other justly, and create holy spaces that are filled with the divine presence.
What tables do we need to turn over?
What actions or thoughts do we need to drive out?