Cleansing the Temple

In today’s readings, Jesus “entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things” (Luke 19:45). This is a scene that occurs in all four gospels. In the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) the story appears towards the end of Jesus’ ministry. In the Gospel of John it appears at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.

In Jesus’ day there was one thing that dominated the skyline of Jerusalem – the Temple – easily seen from across the way on the Mount of Olives, hovering over the Old City, and visible from every balcony in the upper city. It wasn’t the original Temple, that had been destroyed some 600 years before by the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. This the second temple. Construction started about 520 years before Jesus’ time but it was King Herod the Great who make the temple a “wonder of the world.”

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