The Reign of Justice
The walk through the Temple precincts was anything but normal. Frantic pigeons were cart wheeling through the sky, the noise of the crowd, which was always a low buzz, had risen in volume, and agitated moneychangers were scrounging on all fours desperately looking for loose shekels. A man carrying a basket was brusquely stomping across the courtyard huffing to another, “What was all that business about not carrying anything through the Temple? I never.” His companion was shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders, “That wasn’t too bothersome, but when he kept shouting Scripture that was bizarre. Who does he think he is, Isaiah, Jeremiah.” Both men stalked out of the Temple precincts still discussing what he had done and said.
I knew who he was—that rural Galilean from up north. I had heard rumors he was in Jerusalem, a strange man, uncouth in habits and “friends.” But the common “people of the land” seemed impressed with him. And as evident from all the chaos in the Temple, even when he wasn’t physically around, his presence still rippled like a pebble dropped into a cistern. The men had griped about the Galilean saying: ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations. But you have made it a den of robbers.”
What was galling was that the peasant was right. As I looked at the Temple stones, I knew they had been built on the back of widows’ mites. The economic exploitation of the Temple had turned it into a bazaar instead of a sanctuary of prayer. You had to give the Galilean credit; he had courage speaking truth to power, which was never a good thing with Romans around and even worst during Passover. He was proclaiming justice in an injustice world. Most people would just think he was spitting in the wind. But maybe one could hope. . . hope that the pneuma of God would allow his spitting words to fall on some fertile soil. I looked up into the sky; it was blue and cloudless, but I thought I felt a drop of rain.