JERUSALEM, APRIL 3, AD 30
Officials here were stunned today by Jesus as he led the pilgrims in sweeping the temple courts clear of all commerce. Merchants, money-changers, and animals were driven from the temple courts as thousands of Passover pilgrims hailed Jesus with a chorus of “Hosannas.” The incident began about nine o’clock this Monday morning as Jesus started to address an early assembly of pilgrims in the large court. He was distracted by three noisy incidents that seemed to stir his indignation.
Jesus acts swiftly
Jesus paused as a herd of about one hundred bellowing bullocks were being driven from one pen to another. At almost the same time an argument erupted as a Jew from Alexandria loudly declared he had been overcharged by a temple money-changer. Just moments later, as Jesus waited for the noise to subside, several Judeans began to ridicule and jostle a Galilean pilgrim, who later told reporters he had met Jesus years ago in Iron. Jesus suddenly stepped down from the platform and strode across the spacious floor of the court. He took a whip out of the hand of the bullock herder and drove the animals out of the temple! Then Jesus walked over to the cattle pens and opened the gates of every stall, releasing the animals.
Pilgrims join Jesus
The actions of Jesus seemed to ignite a reaction among the pilgrims. It has long been known that pilgrims, especially those from distant countries, resent the profiteering commerce in the temple here. As Jesus drove the animals out of the courts, shouting hordes of pilgrims began to overturn the tables of the money-changers. In less than five minutes the entire court was cleared of commerce. By the time the Roman guards appeared, the crowd was orderly and relatively quiet.
Jesus addresses crowd
Jesus remounted the speaker’s platform and declared: “You have this day witnessed that which is written in the Scriptures: ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers.’” A roar of approval went up from the crowd. Many shouted “Hosanna!” and others sang hymns of praise. One of the arriving priests was heard to say to Jesus: “Do you not hear what the children of the Levites are saying?” Jesus replied: “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of babes praise has been perfected’?” Jesus taught the remainder of the day as pilgrims stood guard at the entrances to the temple and would not let anyone carry so much as an empty vessel across the temple courts.
Expert observer comments
One observer who has followed the career of Jesus noted that the incident was symbolic as well as politically dynamic. “Jesus has always taught that one should not avoid the use of force when protecting the rights of the majority against the unjust practices of a minority. Often those who are the most shrewd and aggressive entrench themselves in power: political, financial or ecclesiastical. Such individuals should not be permitted to exploit those who cannot protect themselves and their laudable projects from the intrusion of ruthless individuals.” The observer has requested that his name be withheld from publication.
(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)