They’ve never seen him like this. So angry and out of control. Yesterday, everyone was happy. They loved Him and He loved them. There was a parade – and the palm branches – heck even that stinking donkey seemed to have a smile on its face. And yet, He seemed a bit “out of sorts.” Today is another story. It’s “out of sorts” in overdrive. And to be honest they’re all a little scared.
“I’ve never even seen Him upset – much less angry” Andrew says to his brother Peter. “Me either, I guess I’ll try to talk to him.” Peter replies.
John is quietly reassuring his brother James that it must have been a “one off.” “Did you see His eyes as He flipped over the tables though?” James inquires. “It’s like they were angry, sad and scared all at the same time. It was pretty awful.” “I was too busy trying to assure people that He wasn’t always like this” John replies. “After dinner, I’ll check and make sure He’s ok.”
Jude is recounting Jesus’ words to Phillip off to the side in Mary and Martha’s back yard. “Did you hear what He said? What He called them? Did you see how terrified they were of Him?” Phillip had indeed heard, and the words were echoing in his ears. The whole scenario replaying in his mind.
And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
~ Mark 11:15–17(ESV)
Back in Jerusalem, the temple is still a mess. The tables are upside down. Gold and silver coins are still lodged in places where people didn’t see them as they scattered quickly from the courtyard. There are even a few dead birds lying off towards the entrance. Most people are nervous. Some are even scared. They were expecting a conquering king – and what they saw today was more like a raging dictator. They had heard He said His kingdom was about love, and peace; healing and restoration. None of those things seemed to have happened today. What kind of king could this man be? He seems a bit unhinged.
Inside the temple there is a different kind of conversation going on. One with a motive based on jealousy and greed.
And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.
~Mark 11:18–19 (ESV)
“He has them under some kind of trance.” Caiaphas is worried now. “Even when He yells and screams, they cannot take their eyes off of Him. Something must be done.” The other priests steal glances of each other as they exchange elbows and begin to mumble their agreement. Caiaphas is not to be angered. He could make what Jesus did today look like nothing. They do not know what “something” is; but it is becoming obvious their High Priest will not put up with this much longer. Especially during Passover. One more outburst like the one today, and they will all have to answer not just to him, but to Pontius Pilate, and Rome as well. The power they have over their people, is only worth something if they still have it. Caiaphas seems as though he’s willing to do ANYTHING to keep it. Things might be getting worse before they get much better.
As the sun sets over Jerusalem and Bethany, there is enough tension to bridge the two miles between them. His followers are reeling and confused. His enemies are reacting by conspiring. For everyone involved – it’s the first time tomorrow feels like it might be worse than today.
Yesterday there was a celebratory parade. Today brought forth a fit of anger previously unseen. My, how the tables have turned.