The other day, as I was walking down the street, I saw a man disheveled. I stopped, asked him if everything was alright, was he in need of any assistance.
He replied that he did not but did say he was aggravated by what occurred just a few hours before.
“What happened a few hours ago?” I asked.
“An arrogant man came into our religious environment and made havoc of everything He saw. He took a whip and was swinging away, getting the attention of all (without hitting anyone), and then He turned over tables and yelled, ‘Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise!’
“All of us were stunned, so surprised by what we saw we did nothing. Finally, some of the religious leaders, after the stun wore off, addressed Him, ‘By what authority are you doing this? Who are you?'”
“I didn’t hear anything, but I gathered my stuff, humiliated by this, and I walked out.”
That was it. He said no more.
Not long after this, as I was reflecting on the brief conversation, I came across another man, seemingly still fuming from something, though I was uncertain what it was. I stopped and asked Him if I could be of any help, perhaps an ear for Him to vent. He didn’t want any of that, but He did tell me about what it was that He just did.
“I came to Jerusalem to worship” [it was the Passover, a significant religious day], but when I came in, I was struck by all the noise I saw. Yes, I have been around long enough to know things like this have been occurring for a while, but on this day, I was stuck by it and was not going to let it go unchecked.
“With controlled anger and passion, I went through the Temple complex [Court of the Gentiles] and told them all to ‘Get out of here! Take these things and your commerce to a place more appropriate than this sacred area where the non-Jewish community comes to worship. You have made the sacred profane; you have no regard for them who come in humility and seek a quiet place to worship!
“As I was doing this, I was challenged by those in religious leadership, asking me why I did what I did and by whose authority I was doing this. As they asked me this, they demanded I give them a sign from heaven to illustrate my authority, so I told them, ‘Destroy this temple and I will raise it up in 3 days.’ This made them apoplectic [extremely enraged], but I made my point and left.”
I since learned that no one does a thing as sweeping and authoritative as that which He did without justification. Who is this man who generates such a visible response like the people gave Him on that occasion and, I have since learned, on other occasions also? Still reflecting on the brief conversations, I thought to myself, “Either this man is arrogant, audacious, and a fool or He is something more. Perhaps I ought to learn more.