In the Gospel of John (2:13-25), Jesus walks into the temple area in Jerusalem and found “those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there.” Seeing people profiting from the pilgrims coming to the temple, Jesus “made a whip out of cords and drove them out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and over-turned their tables”. To those selling doves, he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
An article from the Catholic Exchange written by Gayle Somers clarifies why there was a marketplace. According to the article, pilgrims were often from lands far away from the temple and bought the animals for sacrifice out of convenience instead of bringing the animals with them from their homelands. From her article, Somers writes, “moneychangers were set up in this area to exchange foreign currency for the appropriate coins needed to pay the annual Temple tax. These services were licensed by those in charge of the Temple. As we know, when services are licensed and taxes are collected, there are always opportunities for corruption and extortion. ”
Following Jesus’ actions, the Jews said in the gospel, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus responded by saying, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” We know that Jesus was talking about his own body, which was a prophecy fulfilled but his own resurrection.
Seeing how Jesus expressed God’s anger at the Gentiles in the marketplace, have you ever seen anyone blatantly trying to profit from people at church? How did this make you feel? What did you do about it? We’d love to hear from you. Please provide comments below.