April 09, 2019

Jesus Was Enraged


The life of Jesus: His last week - On Monday he preached in the Temple Mount.

Jesus lived in a time of social, political and religious conflict. Because his message was very close to what many people needed and wanted to hear, and because of his growing reputation as a healer of the sick, Jesus was soon regarded as competition, an upstart whose popularity was dangerous to the authority of established political and religious institutions. Scribes and scholars participated in a closed social structure that discouraged outsiders. Priests felt they had the exclusive right to teach about God and the law. The Romans dictated matters of State. Jesus was considered an outsider and a rebel to all three groups. Jesus had a natural theology that was occasionally at odds with Jewish tradition and law. Although he was very familiar with the law, he frequently ignored it.

The ministry of Jesus was on a collision course with destiny.

But Jesus already knew what lay ahead. On Monday he entered the Temple Mount and went into the Court of Gentiles. The stench of animal dung mingled with the stink of rotting flesh and the sweet aromas of cooking food. There was ceaseless noise from thousands of voices, crying children, and terrified animals. The air was thick with the smoke of a hundred fires and the flames of the sacrificial alter.

He was enraged by what he saw. The area around Herod’s Temple had been turned into a bazaar, teaming with human activity. Booth after booth of merchants and money changers. Jesus knew most of the pilgrims did not know how to value the money they received in exchange for their Roman coin. Incensed by the larceny, he stormed across the courtyard, overturning the money changer tables.  His outburst was cloud and clear.

“You have turned my Father’s house into a den of thieves!”

The merchants and money changers were so surprised at his wrath; they retreated into the center of the Courtyard. The pilgrims and disciples with him cheered. He began to speak to the assembled crowd.
“Believe in what I say. Prostitutes and tax collectors will enter the kingdom of heaven before money changers will.”

Jesus spoke for 20 minutes. His passion resonated with the crowd. Most of the people desperately wanted to believe that here - at last - was the Messiah who had come to free them from their hated Roman oppressors.

***

Jesus left the Temple Mount after speaking and went to the Mount of Olives to talk with his followers. Several children gathered around his Apostles. Jesus watched them as they begged for money and food. They had learned to be very insistent. They followed the Apostles, hands extended, and pleading as they walked.... He looked intently at their faces. They were mostly dirty, sullen, and desperate. Then three children broke away from the group and walked toward Jesus. Thomas rushed to stop them from reaching Jesus. But Jesus held up his hand and beckoned for them to come to him. Thomas was apologetic.

“I’m sorry. I know children are not allowed to approach High Priests, or a Prophet.”

Jesus responded with sympathy. “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to our children. Truly I tell you, life is precious. We cherish the miracle of life. Let us protect the life God has given to us.”

Jesus looked at each apostle in turn, and said: “It does not matter if one is young or old, healthy or infirm, rich or poor, a man, a woman, an adult or a child. We know every soul is equally important to the Holy Spirit. We are therefore challenged to cherish and protect human life from conception to death.”

***

The meeting with the Sanhedrin priests and teachers of the law had not gone well. Caiaphas the High Priest was not amused. In fact, he seethed with frustration. He turned to the three Levites with him.
“Most of the Council members think Jesus is harmless. They believe he will fade away like a dying tree in the desert. But you wait, if he continues to disrupt Temple activity like he did today, they will change their minds.”

..........

Ron

“Am I Your Son?”

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