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Jesus comes to Jerusalem for Passover, and once again attracts the attention of the authorities and their chief troublemakers. When he visits the Temple it is hardly surprising that the courtyard and elsewhere are filled with stall-holders and money-changers, customers and hapless borrowers. No-one regards it as unusual, still less unacceptable, but the arrival of Jesus is quite a shock for this irreverent marketplace. He overturns the tables and lets loose the livestock,
including the dove-seller’s birds, which fly to their freedom. All is chaos and mayhem, and at the heart of it Jesus, whose commanding presence disturbs the onlookers and challenges the complacent status quo tacitly condoned by the Temple priests and elders. He condemns them with stinging criticism and a profound sense of their moral degradation -“It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21: 13) – and so drives them from the Temple.
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