After several days of travel, they reach the top of a hill and see the gleaming golden temple ahead of them. They are dusty and weary, and that is a very welcome sight! Everyone wants to find a place to rest for the night and something to eat, but Jesus’ first priority is to get to the temple and pray. He leaves His family and goes with His disciples to the temple. But when He gets there, what He sees makes him forget His original intent. His disciples see the look of outrage on His face, and wonder what is going to happen. “Rabbi, what is wrong?” they ask Him. He looks at them, and then back to the temple. “My Father’s House. It should be a House of Prayer for all the nations. And look what they have done with it. It has been turned into a den of thieves!” He starts to walk purposefully toward the temple, and the disciples turn to each other with looks of apprehension on their faces. “What will He do? The Romans have a large presence here, especially now at Passover. Any unrest and people will be rounded up and crucified. Should we stay and witness…whatever is about to happen, or should we flee before it’s too late? Roman soldiers, not to mention the temple guards, are not known for their willingness to assess the situation before acting with violence,” says Andrew. “Let’s stay,” says Peter. “If He truly is the Messiah, this could be the time when He will overthrow the Romans! We could be witnesses to the start of the revolution!” So the disciples stay and watch, expecting Jesus to conform to their idea of what the Messiah should be and should do.
As Jesus walks towards the temple, His hands are busy working, braiding a whip out of some leather cords He is carrying. He enters, and turns to the table of the money changers. Only Jewish coins are accepted here, so anyone carrying any other form of currency must first stop at this table and exchange it. Jesus snaps His whip at the table and the money goes flying everywhere. The money changers jump out of their seats, mouths agape, and stare at Him. “What are you doing?” they ask, incredulous. He does not answer them, but turns to the cages full of doves and pigeons, ready to be purchased for sacrifices. Snap! The whip lashes out again, and the cage doors open, releasing the birds. Then, another snap! The sheep pen opens, releasing hundreds of bleating sheep into the temple area. Snap! The cattle are released. As people everywhere realize what is happening, they all turn to stare at this Man. Who is He? Some look at His face and are startled to see the fire in His eyes. Finishing with His task, Jesus proclaims to the people in attendance, “Get out of here, you wicked men! You claim to be holy, but you steal from the Lord your God!” “What are You saying? Are You a prophet? Show us a sign, if You are!” someone in the crowd says. “Destroy this temple and I will raise it up again in 3 days,” Jesus says to them. “Impossible!” scoffs another observer, “It has taken 46 years of hard labor, worked on by hundreds of laborers, to build this temple. How can You destroy it and build it up again in 3 days?” Jesus turns and leaves without another word, as the people start passing the rumors of what has just happened. Their words are full of derision for this lunatic they have just seen. They don’t realize that Jesus is talking about raising up His Body, not the temple building that they were standing in. And His act of fury fulfills a prophecy about Messiah, that “Zeal for Your House consumed Him.”