Jesus returned to Jerusalem the day after his triumphal entry (the day we call Palm Sunday). The crowd had long since dispersed. Only his disciples tagged along beside him. And what a day it turned out to be!
Jesus went to the Temple area. The Temple itself was really a very small building containing the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies into which only the High Priest could enter, and he could only enter on the Day of Atonement. But this small building (The Temple) was surrounded by courtyards, sometimes called the Temple precincts: the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of the Women, the Court of the Israelites, and the Court of the Priests. In Jesus’ day this whole area of buildings and courtyards were referred to as the Temple. Each courtyard was for a particular group of people, Gentiles only, women only, priests only, etc.
Jesus and his disciples went into the Court of the Gentiles—a very busy and crowded place (and it was a special religious holy day, Passover)—for pilgrims came from all over the world to see the Temple at Jerusalem according to Roman writers of the time. Here in this Court of the Gentiles, money was exchanged. Every Jew had to pay a temple tax with a certain kind of currency—the money-changers were available to exchange one currency for the appropriate one for a big commission. These booths were similar to the foreign exchange kiosks at modern day airports. The money-changers were apparently eager to fleece the pilgrims and did so with regularity.
In this Court of the Gentiles, the pilgrim could also purchase a “dove offering.” These doves had to be “without blemish” in order to make a proper sacrifice. The doves without blemish could only be found inside the courtyard and were sold here at an exorbitant price. The people were fleeced, taken, hoodwinked, scalped, and duped—and those who exploited them made significant profits.
Jesus was ticked off by what he saw. He “overturned the tables of the money-changers, and of those who were selling doves. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a robber’s cave.’”
Wherever people are treated unfairly, put down, fleeced, hoodwinked, scalped, and duped, whether in a temple or in a community, a society, or a nation, Jesus gets frustrated still and He will overturn the tables.
|Ponder the meaning of things!|
The unexamined life (individual or societal)
is not worth living! (Socrates)