The characters in these daily postings are fictional. I enjoy understanding the makeup of various characters – how they dress – how they talk – what they think and how they relate to others. The stories are taken from actual events which occurred during Jesus’ ministry from the point of view of those who were witness to them. The time was right for God to send His Son into the world. It was all part of His amazing plan for our salvation. I hope you enjoy taking this journey with me.
REUBEN THE SELLER OF FINE LINEN
Every year at the time of the Passover, we merchants could count on making a good portion of our yearly income. People from all over the country would arrive in droves to make their sacrifices and we would be there waiting with open arms to sell our wares. It was a festival after all. The temple courts were the perfect place to set up shop. I suppose you could compare it to a modern day state fair. There were money changers available to give those from far off countries to turn their foreign money into local. There were sellers of animals which would be as sacrifice. There were purveyors of other goods, like precious oils, home remedies, dried and preserved meat and rich cloth which could be sewn into clothing or vestments in local temples. Some brought homemade flatbread and honey. I sold fine linen.
All of the merchants arrived early before the sun rose. We each had a spot reserved for us in advance. Some would pay extra to be closer – especially those who had connections with the temple officials. I never thought of this as being wrong or inappropriate. We were only providing a needed service to those who took time out of their busy schedules to come to the holy city of Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The bonus to our good deeds would add a little more change to our purse.
The crowds began to flow in. The city came to life and the festivities began. I always enjoyed coming to Jerusalem during Passover.. It was a time of remembrance of the Jewish people when they were delivered from their oppressors in Egypt. The temple was a beautiful site. Thousands of citizens were in attendance. It wasn’t long before Jesus arrived. Everyone was talking about this man who preached in the countryside. It was said that he claimed to be the promised Messiah. There were many before him that also made that claim. His followers referred to him as a man of peace and love. He brought a message of salvation by means of a perfect, unblemished sacrifice. Jesus exuded confidence when he walked through the market, but what I witnessed wasn’t a calm and peaceful man. You could almost see his face slowly turn red as he passed by each seller.
This quiet, gentle man, who apparently preached peace and love had now turned into a man on a mission. As his anger turned to rage, he said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” He then proceeded to turn the tables of each vendor and coins and wares went flying.
The atmosphere changed from one of a festive nature to almost a scene of violent protest. His anger puzzled me. I’d been coming to this place for years and had never seen such an outburst. Who did he think he was? It took me quite a while to digest the entire event. What kind of man was he? What right did he have to call me a robber? He obviously had a side to his personality that erupted for a reason. As I packed up my wares, my mind was filled with questions. Had we turned this holy place into a den of thieves? Were we merchants in fact profiting from the religious holidays? I mulled this over on my journey back home. I couldn’t wrap my mind around this Jesus. Was he just a man? Was he the Messiah spoken of by the prophets? Why did he show so much anger? Eventually I would realize that his anger was justified. Not only was I making a profit on this season, but so were the leaders of the church. Jesus indignation was totally justified. The temple of Jerusalem had turned into a corrupt operation. I would never return to that place, but I would make it my goal to discover more about Jesus.