Text(s): Matthew 26: 21-29, Mark 14: 18-25, Luke 22: 15-23, and John 13: 1-20.
On Sunday, we entered into Holy Week. We entered into the experience and the journey to the Passion, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.
On Sunday, we welcomed Christ into our midst, waving palm branches, while the symbols of Christ were ushered into the sanctuary: the cross, the waters of baptism, the chalet and plate, the Holy Scriptures, and light. This was a greeting, a welcome that was fit for a king.
In the gospel accounts, Christ enters the Temple in Jerusalem. He drives out those conducting business, the venders and consumers alike. He flips over the tables of the money changers. He teaches about the corruption of the Temple into a den of robbers instead of the intended house of prayer.
This intense, pivotal moment in the gospel accounts is embellished for dramatic effect. The historical reality is that the dramatic scene was milder, perhaps symbolic, because, the Roman authorities were suspicious of the multitude of Jewish people traveling into Jerusalem to celebration the Passover. Their suspicion was firmly rooted in previous revolt attempts. The Roman authorities had increased the military, security forces in Jerusalem for this festival. Thus, if the depicted scene occurred, Jesus would have been arrested and contained immediately for disputing the peace.
Yet, Jesus’ actions in the Temple most have merited the attention of the Jewish religious authorities, because the chief priests and their scribes approach Jesus and question the source of his authority to teach, to preach, and to heal. Jesus employs wit, I imagine with a grin, avoids providing an answer to their question, and then departs to Bethany for the evening.
This pivotal encounter ignited the chief priests and scribes to conspire against this Rabbi, this prophet Jesus of Nazareth.