The Temple traders


Repentance and discipleship

Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the Temple and he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold pigeons (Mark 11:15)

When Jesus arrived at Jerusalem at the beginning of that momentous Holy Week, he at once made his way to the Temple.  The Temple building itself was situated in the northern part of a vast courtyard, the court of the Gentiles into which, as its name implies, people of all nationalities and religions were admitted.  It was this court which Jesus entered on his arrival.

Running round the sides of the court was a wide and lofty cloister and it was the scene both there and in the court itself which roused Our Lord’s anger.  It had all the appearance and atmosphere of an Eastern bazaar.

Under the cloisters were the tables of the moneychangers, with their neatly stacked piles of coins.  They were there because victims for private sacrifices had to be paid for in Temple coinage which was not in ordinary circulation.  Therefore all would-be offerers, before they did anything else, were obliged to buy at a high rate of exchange, the Temple money that they needed.  In the great court itself were the sacrificial victims, a restless mass of sheep and oxen herded into pens, with cages of pigeons piled high on top of one another.

All this highly profitable business was the monopoly of the family of Annas, the old high priest whose son-in-law Caiaphas was the actual high priest at that time.

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