Cleansing the Temple

He bent over, knotting the cords together, feeling their rough, dirty texture.  The heat from the courts pressed against his skin.  A single drop of sweat spotted the dust.  A cacophony of men and animals washed over him – the shouts and haggling, the clink of money, the bleating and braying of sheep and cattle.

The anger rose in him, a rush of thoughts and feelings that pushed awareness of everything else to the periphery of his existence.  This was his Father’s house; this was His house. It was open to all nations, all peoples. This was a place of worship, a place of peace, a place of prayer.

He straightened up, gripping the tangled cords, overwhelmed by how wrong it all was.  And then he was running, swinging the whip, shouting, lashing the animals and driving them toward the east gate.  A table was in his way and he knocked it over, money clanging to the stones.  He had everyone’s attention now.   There were cries of protest. 

He was breathing heavily when he paused.  A strange silence had descended upon the court.  Three Jewish temple leaders were rapidly invading his personal space, their faces dark with anger.  He could see the rich cloth of their robes and smell the expensive oil they used on their beards.   They disgusted him.

“Upon whose authority do you do this?” Their words were clipped, harsh.

“Destroy this temple and in three days I will rebuild it”.  His response sounded irrelevant and foolish. 

“Look, it took thousands of men 46 years to build what we see today.  You’re going to rebuild it in three days?”  Preposterous!  Pathetic.  They would have felt sorry for him if they weren’t so angry.

He was talking about his body.   He was talking about himself.  They would kill him. Not today, but they would.  In two years these men would tear apart his body and throw the broken, lifeless flesh in a cave to rot.

And on the third day He would rise.