By Edwin Darius
Every year for Passover, thousands of Jews would travel from all over the Roman province of Judea and beyond to celebrate, worship and offer sacrifices in Jerusalem. Many of them, instead of traveling with animals for sacrifice, would simply travel with the money to purchase them. However, they had to exchange their coins from the Jewish “shekel” to the Roman “denarius.” Money changers were everywhere in the temple not only to provide that service but also to overcharge, defraud and oppress the poor.
Furthermore, the religious leaders were so greedy that they established many ways to manipulate and rip off people through taxation, penalties, and fees for their services. The unfortunate pilgrims were taught that they had to keep giving to stay right with God. Therefore, just like any system of exploitation and oppression, the leaders were getting wealthier and the people poorer.
As Jesus visited the temple in Jerusalem, He noticed the injustice happening there. He was outraged by what the leaders had made of God’s temple, –a house of thieves, oppression, and injustice. The next day, He went on a special mission of cleansing the temple. He flipped over the tables and drove out all fraudulent people. Jesus wasn’t afraid to stand for justice. I am pretty sure the temple was on lockdown. All this to say, what troubles Jesus ought to trouble us as well. Since we are all family, we cannot stay quiet when we see others being mistreated and abused. We cannot stay quiet when our peers face discrimination, racism, and injustice. May God give us the strength to always stand up for what is right!