(This scene told from the point of view of a 1st century Jew)
Imagine the scene.
Herod’s great temple. A towering building, central to our worship. The white of the stones, the bronze of the altar.
And the smells! They were overpowering! Even the blind would know where they are. The musty smell of animals mixing with the sweet incense offered up to God.
But there was also something so distracting. The noise! When I look at the temple building, I feel my insignificance and God’s greatness. When I smell the animals, I think of my sin. When I smell the incense, I am reminded of God’s love for His people. But the noise! If you tried to block out your other senses and just focused on the sounds, you might think you were in the market square! The clinking of money, the yelling of the venders, offering good prices on their own animals, and insulting their competition. The sense of sound was such a different message from my other senses.
But then, one day everything changed. It was Passover, and I was in the temple, trying to focus on what really mattered. But then, a new sound. One of the younger Rabbis, I think his name was Jesus, strode powerfully into the temple, and for a split second everything stopped. Everyone paused what they were doing and looked at this man. I’m not sure why, but I did too. He wasn’t particularly tall, his beard wasn’t long or streaked with gray as a mark of wisdom. I think it was his eyes. They glowed with a passion I hadn’t seen in anyone for a long time.
But then everything went back to normal for everyone. Well, almost everyone. As the salesmen started yelling again, and coins once again changed hands, my eyes stayed on the Rabbi.
He started moving his hands, and quickly I saw that he was fashioning a whip! I wanted to run away, I didn’t want to know what he would do. The glint in his eyes might not be passion after all, but insanity! But my feet were rooted to the ground.
With amazing strength, Rabbi Jesus used the whip to overturn the tables! Coins scattered everywhere and cages opened. Pigeons started flying all around the courtyard. Suddenly the raised voices weren’t used for salesmanship anymore, but directed angrily at this man. Maybe he heard, maybe he didn’t, but he did not stop. He threw the whip away and overturned another table with his bare hands. He threw bags of money away.
Then he raised his voice. It was so loud I could barely stand it. I’m convinced that everyone in the area could hear it: Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade!
And then he was gone, as quickly as he came. His Father’s house? What could he mean? Who was this young Rabbi?
Many of us know exactly who this Rabbi was. He was Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. God Himself, come down to save His people. To inform and reform our worship. To tell us more about Himself, and to share His righteousness with us.
THIS is the true meaning of Christmas. May you be blessed in this time.