Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Day Peter Saw Jesus Chase the Merchants

By Mary Vee
John 2



From Peter's Journal 


Photo by Mary Vee - A Synagogue in Capernaum


I had only followed Jesus a short time. Everything He said intrigued me. Yes, I believed He is the Messiah, but I wasn't sure what that meant. Was He the one who would free us from Roman rule? He said He would save us, but from what? I hoped it meant having a free Israel, but I wasn't sure and for that reason I followed Jesus.






Mary Vee on the Capernaum shore
of the Sea of Galilee - Photo by Hank



I saw his first miracle at a wedding in Cana. His mother asked him to help the bridegroom when the celebration ran out of wine. Jesus did as she asked, although He spoke with her privately about it. I don't recall her asking him to help like that again.



After the wedding, we walked over to Capernaum, which is on the north side of the Sea of Galilee.The shore is rocky which made gathering materials to make buildings easy. His mother, brothers, and those of us who followed Jesus went as a group. We stayed there a few days enjoying the breeze off the lake, the fresh fish, and listening to Jesus teach. It was a good time to rest and prepare for what was to come.





When Passover time had neared, we walked south to Jerusalem. The journey was about sixty miles, much of it up hill. 

Jesus directed us to the Temple, as expected. I say that because I didn't know His plans, but was very willing to go where He said.

There was a huge crowd of people milling about in the courts of the Temple. Some families brought their own offerings for the Temple. A long time ago, merchants figured out they could set up booths to sell items for offerings to weary travelers who didn't want to chance bringing an offering so many miles from home. Money changers set up their own booths ready to convert coins to whatever currency the buyer needed. 

The area assigned to these merchants was outside the courts and Temple area. But over time, more businesses moved inside the courts to better serve all the people. I'd seen them there and hadn't thought much about it.

But.

Jesus did.

Before we walked into the courts, Jesus' movements, every one from His steps to His words, even His breath moved with abrupt motion. Something angered Him.

He'd barely taken a step inside the courts when He looked from one merchant to another. 

Sheep, goats, cattle, and birds sounded from their captivity. Coins clanked, shuffled from merchant to buyer. I'd seen it all before. Merchants calling to the people to come to their booth. The noise. The confusion. The clamor in the Temple courts.

We had a few traveling supplies packed, cord was among them. Jesus took the cord and made a whip. His face grew red with anger as he walked to a merchant's booth. He grabbed the table and flipped it over. He swung the whip and yelled at those who sold birds. "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

Jesus moved from booth to booth. I stood there, just watching Him force the merchants out of the courts. There were so many booths, yet His energy never diminished. He rushed from corner to corner waving the whip and demanding they leave until the last one had cleared the Temple area.

He didn't call this place the Temple. Not even the place to worship. He called it my Father's house. My Father's House. My thoughts ran fast. This would mean that Jesus was not only the one who would save us, but He is God's Son. Curiosity swelled inside me. I wanted to hear every word He'd say. 

He now stood on the other side of the courts and some Jews gathered around Him. I ran to hear what they would say. 

Their faces showed anger. Their stance firm ready to accuse Jesus. Maybe throw Him out of the Temple. They asked him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove you have the authority to chase these businessmen away?"

Jesus said, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

The same Jews then said, "You've got to be crazy. It took forty-six years to build this temple and now you think you can raise it in three days?"

Three years later, I remembered these words because the true meaning became clear to me. I also learned the deeper reason why those men could have never thrown Jesus, the Son of God, out of those courts. But I'll tell you more about that later.



Note: Jesus knew before He stepped into the Temple courts what He would see. Two responses were going on inside Him. One was His response as Jesus in human body form, angry at the disrespect the merchants had toward God, the Holy Father and His place of worship. The other was Jesus very much God seeing the disrespect to the place set aside for worship of the Almighty Father. Those feelings were much deeper than what we feel when others disrespect our human parents because God is our Creator and He alone is worthy of all praise.

Jesus loves us so much that He HAD to demonstrate/teach us how to respect His Holy Father's house.

Come back for the next story.

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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.

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