With it being Holy Week, I’ve been thinking about the key people and events that played a part in Christ’s sacrifice. I’ll start with the “bit payers.”
The Jerusalem Crowd:
One day cheering Jesus as he entered Jerusalem, laying their cloaks on the path before him so that Jesus’ donkey could walk on them, they changed their tune very quickly when stirred up by the Jewish religious leaders. It reminds one of how fickle people – and that means us as well – can be. It’s generally believed that those cheering on one day and cat calling as Jesus was scourged and crucified were the same people.
You have to wonder what they were doing hanging around the High Priest’s courtyard in the middle of the night. I guess midnight kangaroo courts, torture and death were the reality entertainment of the day. Pity we haven’t evolved very far.
I like to think that some of the Jerusalem Crowd were holdouts who refused to participate in the debacle and they were the ones who met up with Christ after his resurrection on the road to Emmaus. I have no facts to back this up. I just choose to have hope in people. Besides, even though Jesus forgave everyone, I like to think that he’d prefer to stop by and chat with the nicer people.
The Money Changers:
Marketing is the business tool in which you find a need that people have and then figure out how to meet that need. Roman coins couldn’t be used in the temple, so they needed to be exchanged for appropriate monies. Sacrificing live animals at the temple meant dragging sheep or oxen through the streets. Obviously, it would be far more convenient to purchase animals closer to the temple. The poor offered doves – a bit difficult to capture unless you’re in the business. In the Middle East one can still see bird traps, and I suspect that some enterprising individuals used similar techniques. So sooner or later they managed, purely for the convenience of the worshipers, I’m sure, to move their operation right into the temple itself. You know what they say, “Location! Location! Location!” Unfortunately for them, God had personally claimed that location for himself quite a few years earlier. One must assume that the Chief Priests and the Scribes had approved this. Even those of us with laid-back pastors would face opposition if we tried to open a small shop inside church.
It’s safe to assume that this may have been the event that crystalized the officials’ desire to rid themselves of this Jesus. Once he was gone, everything could get back to normal – or should we say business as usual.