In John 2, we see Jesus utterly disrupting a group of merchants conducting business in the temple courts, looking to capitalize on the crowds coming to celebrate Passover. These merchants are not humble entrepreneurs as they would undoubtedly claim to be, rather Jesus calls them robbers. Doves or pigeons were God’s provision for those who couldn’t afford anything else, it’s inferred that they were swindling the poor because Jesus has biting words specifically for the bird vendors. However this kind of commerce is probably a common thing for the temple and it’s entirely possible that they went back to their ways in the days to come, if not later that same day. The merchants were allowed to be there by the temple guard and the Roman guards.

I imagine there was an awkward hush afterward where people didn’t really know what to do. At that moment, the temple court had been cleansed. Maybe people went into the courtyard and experienced what it was intended to be, a place of worship. I’m also sure there was a mad scramble to retrieve the scattered coins and find all the animals. But the sudden disruption of commerce and everything that goes with it had to bring a sense of peace after the chaos.

I think Jesus would be patient with his own adopted family and explain things and encourage obedience, but sometimes we lack perspective and don’t quite understand what he doesn’t want us to do. Sometimes he might come in and flip tables and disrupt what we thought was a good thing. Our goal would be to fight the urge to set up shop again! Leave the coins, leave the animals, take the loss, learn the lesson, and find another place of honest business.

Jonathan Duncan

Subscribe to the Daily Fill