Cleansing The Temple
At the time of the Passover, people from every part of the land
went up to Jerusalem to keep the feast. Jesus had made this trip before, along
with friends—Andrew, Simon, Philip, and Nathanael. '
On this latter occasion, when Jesus entered the temple court, he found it crowded, noisy,
and busy. Nothing about it made a person feel like praying. It looked more like a market than a house of prayer. Men had brought
live oxen, sheep, and doves into the temple to sell for sacrifices. These animals only added to the noise and confusion.
In one corner money-changers sat at small tables. Every Jew over twenty years old had to give a piece of silver money called a half
shekel to the priests. This money was used for sacrifices and for the temple.
Those who came from distant countries brought the kind of money used in their homeland. Since half shekels were the only coins the
priests would take, all other coins had to be changed for half shekels to pay the priests. Every person had to pay to have his money changed
into temple coins.
How angry Jesus was when he saw people making a market place out of God's house! Taking small cords, he tied them together and
made a whip. With the whip he drove out all the animals and their keepers. Then he upset the money-changers' tables. To those who
sold doves he said, "Take these things away. Do not make my Father's house a house of selling."
Many Jews were angry at Jesus for doing this. They asked, "What sign do you show that you have a right to do such things?"
Jesus knew they would not believe him even if he showed them a
sign. He answered, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Jesus meant the temple of his body. He knew the Jews
would help to kill him. Then in three days he would rise from the dead.
The Jews did not understand. They thought Jesus meant the great temple Herod had rebuilt on Mount Moriah. They scoffed, "It took
forty-six years to build this temple, and you say you can rebuild it in three days!" Shaking their heads doubtfully they walked away.
During the feast Jesus began to teach the people and to do miracles among them. Many believed in him when they heard his words and
saw the great works that no other man could do.