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DEN OF THIEVES

His steps were deliberate, His mood was determined.  There was nothing leisurely about Jesus' stride, for He
had something on His mind and would not be distracted.  They approached Beautiful Gate,
which was the temple's main entrance.  The huge arch was impressive.  

Jesus stopped.  The disciples caught up with him and Peter.  Peter, of course, had kept pace.  
The others, not so much.  They all looked around, scanning the hustle and bustle throughout the courtyard.  
To the disciples, it appeared to be business as usual.  The air was filled with sounds of animals baying,
cooing, snorting.  The distinctive sound of coins being exchanged, and frequently dropping to the stone
surface, sometimes rose about that of the animals.  Gossip, arguments, laughter,
and most importantly: disrespect.

The noise subsided to a murmur, when, one by one, Jesus was noticed, standing there at the entrance with
His disciples.  It became very still; then silent.  Jesus, dominated by the burly Peter, wasn't necessarily
physically impressive, but He had a presence that commanded respect.

Jesus drew in a breath and bellowed out in a voice of commanding authority,
"It is written that My house will
be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves."
  Shocking.  The disciples
dared not move.  No one moved.  

Jesus then walked over to a table where moneychangers had been doing a brisk business.  He lifted the
table and with minimal effort flipped it over, causing men to scurry and money to clang all over the stones,
rolling in every direction.  He went to another table and did the same thing.  An angry insult was thrown at
Him.  He ignored it.  Panic could be seen on faces as Jesus loosed goats and sheep, this time with His
disciples assisting by shooing them out through the arched entrance.  Doves were flying,
a child was crying, the self-righteous were disgusted and very angry.  Bedlam.  Guilt could be seen
on the faces of those who looked on silently.  

People began disappearing as fast as they could.  Soon, the courtyard was almost empty.  Coins still lay
there, uncollected.  There were several priests present, but what could they do but hang their heads in
shame?  They knew that what they had allowed to go on for so long was wrong.  
Righteous indignation was long overdue.  

In the quiet, Jesus stood erect, looking toward Heaven, and with a look of passion on His face.  The disciples
were gathered near the entrance, knowing not what to do next.  Again, they waited.  This would not endear
Jesus to those in authority.  They remained motionless for a long time until He turned
and walked toward them.  They left the premises.




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