For the disciples, Palm Sunday must have felt like a dream. As they followed Jesus into the temple grounds, their voices would have been drowned out by the clamor.
The Court of Gentiles, the only area that non-Jews could enter, had become an open-air market. The Teacher and His followers pushed through the hordes of customers haggling with merchants and shouting to be heard over livestock and doves used for sacrifices. Other pilgrims crowded around money changers’ tables, protesting unfair rates of exchange for the temple currency.
Jesus had seen enough. He stormed through the court, upending tables, overturning traders’ chairs, and driving animals toward the gate, past a throng of people scrambling for scattered money. Finally, He blocked the way so merchandise couldn’t be carried through the temple (Mark 11:16).
The disciples must have been astounded. They expected the Messiah to judge their oppressors, not His own people and their temple. Finally, Jesus shouted above the din and reminded them of a scripture they’d apparently forgotten. “Is it not written,” He cried, “‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den” (v. 17). The crowd was amazed. But the religious leaders were offended and began to plan His death (v. 18).
Jesus’ actions in the temple emphasized how extravagant the offer of salvation is. He showed that no one should restrain or interfere with those God calls to be saved. This week, consider people you know who need the eternal life Jesus promises. How can you help clear the way for them to worship?