Small Voice Calling > The Call > Moved to Tears > Tables

The Song: Tables

Then he thought about the good times
When he turned the tables over
Chastised the money lenders
And he earned the boys’ respect
Proud of godly anger
But ashamed at manly temper
And that’s why Jesus wept

The Bible: The cleansing of the Temple

The Gospel according to Mark, Chapter 11, Verses 15 to 19 (Mark 11: 15 – 19).

The Story:

The prophet Isaiah had made it quite clear – no one who trusted in God was to be denied access to the Temple. Not the foreigners who had turned to Yahweh, nor the eunuchs who were considered to be cut off from God as well as their manhood. They were to be allowed to offer their sacrifices on the altar. The Temple was to be known as a house of prayer for everyone – not just for the Jewish elite.

God had told another prophet, Jeremiah, to stand at the Temple gate and tell the people who came to worship to change their ways. To treat each other well, looking after strangers, widows and orphans; instead of stealing, murdering, committing adultery and  following other ‘gods’… and making God’s Temple a den of bandits.

Hundreds of years later, foreigners were still not allowed to go beyond the outer Temple courtyard. Jewish women could venture a little further. But only Jewish men were allowed near the altar where the sacrifices took place. 

And the outer courtyard was like a market place. The pilgrims needed to buy animals for the sacrifices, and they had to have the correct currency for the Temple tax.  But many could not afford the inflated prices, and the exchange rate was always in the Temple exchequer’s favour.

So, when Jesus strode in and quoted Isaiah 56: 7 and Jeremiah 7: 11,

“It is written in the scriptures, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples’. But you have turned it into a bandits’ den”,

he upset the market traders (and their tables).

And the spies in the crowd, who understood exactly where Jesus was coming from, scurried back to the religious leaders with more ammunition for their plot against Jesus.