Thursday, March 24, 2005

What Drove The Market Collapse Of A.D. 27

by Keith Brenton

The date is speculative, of course. Because it wasn't about a time, but a place.

Location, location, location.

It was just as vital a concept in the first century as it is today, and the folks who exchanged currencies and provided church supplies back then knew it well.

They set up shop right there in the courts of Herod's temple, perfectly willing - for a fee - to take bad, foreign, Gentile currency and give back time-honored Israeli currency so that the temple treasury wouldn't be polluted and unclean. (Maybe, technically, the exchange fee was a little "iffy" on the legal details.) Still, other merchants offered clean, fresh, unblemished animals right on the spot to the weary traveler who had come all the way to Jerusalem to sacrifice at Passover.

These were the sorts of business God himself would approve of; and they were conveniently located right there in the temple courts where the high priest and middle priests and low priests and worshipers did not object in the slightest.

Until the weird young Rabbi came to town from a brief stop in Capernaum. Before anyone knew what was happening, He had whipped up a scourge made of cords and was driving the bigger animals away, upending the exchange tables, and lecturing the merchants with doves: "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

A few of his close friends suddenly remembered the ninth verse of a psalm of David (#69 in our books) that would prove to be even more prophetic in the days and years to come: "...for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me."

The reaction of the commercial leaders of Jerusalem was understandably demanding, since there had been strong, tacit approval for their location, location, location. It may have even taken on a bit of sarcasm about a reputation that preceded Jesus from his renown in Cana: "What miracle can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"

Well, who can blame them? He'd caused a great deal of embarrassment and loss. They weren't insured for it.

It was an act of God.

But the Rabbi was up to the challenge with one of His cryptic retorts: "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

Why was He so concerned about it? It was just a building. Didn't He know that in forty-three years it would be nothing but burned-out rubble?

Now the merchants were out-and-out insolent: "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" And it was a beauty, twice as big as the original tabernacle and appointed with gold and gifts from the king; no wonder they were proud of it. It was just an outstanding location.

Of course, His friends were already in contemplative mode because of that old song they had thought of. Later - much later - they would recall the moment, and realize that He was talking about the temple of His body.

Fortunately, everything turned out fine. No one called the royal guard or the Romans. The merchants agreed to relocate their businesses for a while ... since there was no specific legislation forbidding their presence in the temple courts. It wasn't like they were selling extraneous things, like seamless T-shirts or scrolls from the Essenes extolling the virtues of baptism or even motzah and horseradish for the paschal meal.

So the young Rabbi moved among the people gathering in town for the feast, doing a lot more things like what he had done at Cana. People began to believe that He might live up to His name, which translates to "salvation." It would be a tall order: that incredible temple and all those animals hadn't been enough to provide salvation from occupying Romans or children-possessing demons or the crushing weight of year-after-year-rolled-forward guilt.

However - other than His indecipherable quotes, which certainly made interesting conversation - He wasn't forthcoming about His next moves.

There may have been a few extra loose cattle and lost sheep roaming about the house of Israel for a while.

But not for very long.

from the account in John 2:12-25


Blogger kyperman said...

Right on, I like your writing. AMEN..!!!

3/23/2005 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger David U said...

WWJDN........great idea! You have vision, brother!


3/24/2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Terry Finley said...

Interesting comments. Thank you.

I invite you to visit my blog and to study baptism and the Holy Spirit with me.

Terry Finley

3/29/2005 08:09:00 PM  

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