Holy Week: Day 2 – Clean up in Aisle Ten

Jesus turns over tables at the Temple

Ready to continue our journey through Holy Week?

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble What is happening in the above picture?

We are not sure what day of the week Jesus caused a ruckus at the Temple. He probably spent time every day at the Temple after his arrival in Jerusalem. However, there were no waving branches or laid out cloaks at the Temple. No, it is likely that Jesus was making enemies as he angrily over-turned tables and benches; driving both buyers and sellers out.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble What made Jesus do this?

Jesus was distressed at what he found. Salespeople (selling animals to be sacrificed) and money changers, were using God’s Temple to conduct business. (Currency exchange was needed because no “foreign” coins could be used in the Temple, only Temple money.)

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble What did Jesus say?

'This is a place of prayer, not a den of thieves! Matthew 21:13.

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble But such a system of selling animals benefitted those who were arriving from out-of-town. Do you suppose there were other factors that contributed to Jesus’ actions?

Well, some of the merchants could have been dishonest, however there has to be another reason as Jesus threw out both the sellers and their customers (Matthew 21:12). Here’s another possibility: The outer court of the Temple, where this took place was called the “Court of the Gentiles.” Gentiles, anyone who was not Jewish, could worship at the Temple but could not go into the inner Temple areas. Perhaps Jesus was defending the Gentiles ability to worship. (With all of the noise of market activity, it was hardly a place suitable to worship.)

Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble (No right or wrong answers here!)

  • We can imagine how the sellers felt but how do you suppose the crowds reacted to Jesus?
  • What about the religious leaders; how did they react? (Hint: Read Matthew 21:15-16)
  • What does this story teach you about Jesus?

Stay tuned for the next installment of our series on Holy Week.


Photo credits:
By Maria Koukios, © 2014, used by permission.