Jesus needed to go into Jerusalem because that was where he was to be killed as a blood sacrifice to his Father God on Friday of that week and where he was to rise from the dead on the first day of the following week. He knew that. It was part of the deal. Jesus, God the Son, was God, as were God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. God the Father always seems to have had the last say over God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. But together they are worshiped by Trinitarian Christians as one triune god. The Trinity. Never mind if that doesn’t make sense. It is not there to make sense. It is there for you to believe, no matter how irrational or improbable. That’s how things are in religion. If it made sense, it would not be a religious teaching, but a demonstrable fact.
Outside of Jerusalem, on the Sabbath, Jesus instructed his followers to go and steal a colt, the foal of an ass, and bring it to him. If anyone questioned, they were to tell them the Lord hath need of it. Just why hauling off the animal, the property of another, is not forbidden work on the Sabbath is not explained.
Jesus and his followers trooped into the town, with Jesus riding on a donkey. Some threw leaves in their way. One might wonder if this gesture was mean as praise or as ridicule.
Jesus’ first reported act in Jerusalem was an assault upon merchants lawfully selling things like doves for sacrifice and changing money, whatever that means. It could mean exchanging Jerusalem money for, say, Egyptian money. Anyhow, in a violent act against merchandising and free trade, Jesus forced the money changers to abandon their work stations in the temple. One account, the Gospel of John, says he made and used a whip, drove merchants and animals out of the temple, and overturned the tables of the merchants and the numismatists. It was an ungodly outburst of temper and quite unfitting behavior for a gentle ass riding messiah. Or so it seems. Under today’s secular moral code, known as “laws,” the behavior of Jesus could be prosecuted for at least assault and criminal mischief.
Just how, or why, one wonders, do the money changes of today, and many very wealthy merchant families, insist on our government passing laws to protect that which they do best. It is perfectly lawful that they do so. But to credit Jesus with being the inspiration for their mercenary ways is somewhat amazing, given the tantrum in the temple story.
For the rest of this week, this blog will attempt to tell you more about Holy Week. You have been warned.
Edwin Kagin © 2012.