Sharks and Whips
We pick up in John 2 verse 12 as Jesus and his disciples along with Mary travel to Capernaum. We know from Mark and Luke that many things transpired during their stay in Capernaum, yet John choose not to share them. In verse 13 we know that the Passover Feast is approaching. Jesus decided to traveled up to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. Verse 14 is very explicit in the details that describe the scene as it unfolded. 'He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.' Imagine entering into the outer walls of the Temple. Inside the gate you'd expect to find clean open spaces with people preparing to go into the temple proper to make their offering of Worship. Traveling such long distances prohibited many from bringing their own sacrificial animals. Special areas have been designated for the purpose of purchasing what was needed. The problem here was the same problem we experience during any kind of supply and demand situation. Unscrupulous people taking advantage. Without oversight, price gouging was happening right and left. Making matters worse, those stalls and shops were spilling over into the Holy area. Not only were they taking advantage of people, but they were blocking the pathway to Worship. They knew that the Holy of Holies was mere feet away. They had to understand the importance and impact they were having on the people, let alone on the Temple and on God. Their actions were much more about money than about the seriousness of the situation. Things were out of control and Jesus was having none of it. John 2:15-16 MSG "Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!" Can you picture the scene? Jesus grabs up a few strands of leather, and like any Shepherd worth his salt, He drives His point home. He didn't hurt anyone or steal their wares, He only ran their self serving butts out of the house and out of business. The next verses find the disciples standing opened mouth in wonder and amazement. 'This must be what the scriptures mean when they talked about His Zeal' (Psalm 69:9 for one). The Jews were upset and whining. 'Who are you and what gives you the right?' 'Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple and in three days I’ll put it back together.' They had never seen or heard anything like this before. They were indignant. The Jews involved were part of the problem and they didn't realize that Jesus was the answer. The disciples would remember this moment. They would know and understand exactly what He meant, when He was resurrected three days after His death. Today, we too, have to be cognizant of the love of money, of stuff and things. We may need to remind ourselves to treating others the way we would want to be treated (even when it comes to money). Reminding ourselves to help others, not hinder them, in their walk with God. We have to, zealously, keep our hearts on the Father and our eyes on Jesus.