It was like any other day during Passover. Many had come to give their offerings and make their animal sacrifices. The sound of sheep without blemish and doves cooing, along with chanting voices and general chaos filled the streets. Every year it was the same thing. People came from far and wide to do their religious duty in celebration of a long past time when God gave the Jews their freedom from the oppression of Egypt. For many, it had become a habit – a tradition – a ritual.
When Jesus made the journey to Jerusalem during the beginning of His ministry, He was following the tradition His family had followed since the days of the mass exodus including enslaved Jews in Egypt. Now they were under the rule of the Roman government, who allowed them to worship as they wished, but were brutal in their governing and forms of justice.
Mary may have thought to stay home that year. It wasn’t necessary for women to make this journey, but her son, Jesus was there. As He sat at the temple gate, where the treasury was set up and watched as people came, gave their offerings of money and left. There were those who placed large amounts in the boxes. They were rich and may have been able to give even more. He also noticed a great number of vendors making money off of the sale of animals to be used in sacrifice. His anger swelled and He made a whip from some cords of rope. He then proceeded to turn tables upside down, money flew through the air and the vendors scattered with their animals.
When the Jewish leaders of the temple asked Him by what authority Jesus was doing this He answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
Like many of this things Jesus said, they didn’t understand. He wasn’t referring to the actual temple, but to His own body. He was foretelling His own death and resurrection. Imagine how sorrowful He felt to see the physical temple being turned into a marketplace. His anger was the human emotion He waged when turning it upside down. It had to be a wakeup call for those in attendance.
Mary marveled at Jesus’ insight. With each step of this extraordinary journey, her eyes were being opened to the divine side of her firstborn child. There was nothing ordinary about Jesus. As the years ticked off, He would return to the temple during the Passover celebration. He would again have to overturn tables and chastise those who were misusing the temple. Those in charge were not pleased, but Mary knew that this was just the beginning of how Jesus would cleanse the church on earth along every human life.
She would make it a point to be part of this amazing journey as we should also.