GOD’S HOUSE TURNED INTO DEN OF ROBBERS

GOD’S HOUSE TURNED INTO DEN OF ROBBERS

By Fr. Felix (African Times Guest Writer)

Luke downplays the turmoil wreaked in the

Temple by Jesus according to Mark. There is no

overturning of the tables or of the seats of the

dove-sellers. He only ‘begins to drive out’ the

sellers.

This is no doubt because Luke emphasizes that

the prophet Jesus is to use the Temple every

day until the very end (21.37) as the platform

for his teaching; it is for his prophetic teaching

that he cleanses the Temple of merchants, as

well as to fulfil the prophecy of Zechariah 14.21

that there would be no traders in the Temple.

He is the messenger of the Lord purifying his

Temple (Malachi 3.1). So the authorities react

not to his actions but to his teaching, searching

for something which would enable them to

destroy him. So it is precisely for his prophetic

teaching and the fascination of the listeners

that the authorities want to get rid of him.

Jesus himself had said that a prophet cannot

die anywhere but in Jerusalem (13.33).

Correspondingly, there is no withered fig-tree (in

Mark symbolic of the barrenness of the Temple

worship), and in the trial scene in Luke there is

nothing about the destruction of the Temple. It

is only for his claims to be Messiah and son of

God that they send him on to Pilate.

It is notable also that the quotation from Isaiah

about the Temple stops short at the Temple

being ‘a house of prayer’, not ‘for all nations’, for

after the Resurrection the early community in

the Acts of the Apostles used it as a house of

prayer. It is not ‘for all nations’ since the

community would not yet have spread to the

gentiles.

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