Episode NT27 – Jesus Clears the Temple

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on Matthew chapter 21 verses 12 to 32

Jesus Clears the Temple

DISCIPLE ANDREW ‘Hi, I’m Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, one of Jesus’ disciples. We’d seen Jesus come to Jerusalem with crowds singing His praises and throwing their cloaks on the ground before Him as He rode a young donkey. And just like us, we knew that the crowd thought Jesus was the Messiah who’d come to rule Israel and set us free from the Romans. (P) Funny thing that He should’ve chosen a young donkey to ride on though, because a warrior king would have chosen a warhorse. A donkey spoke more – about peace! But then again, Jesus kept trying to tell us that He wasn’t going to be the kind of Messiah we expected.’ (PAUSE)

‘When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, and the donkey had been sent home, Jesus went to the temple – the most Holy place in Israel. But when He got there He kind of went crazy – or so we thought. The temple was where all the sacrifices took place, and this was very important because when normal people, like us disciples, came to the temple, we would say sorry to God for our sins, and instead of us being put to death for our sins like the law demands – for all those who break God’s laws deserve to die – the animal was put to death in our place. When this happened, when the animal died in our place, God forgave us.’

‘But the leaders in the temple had worked out how to make lots of money from this. Firstly, they said that they had to provide the animals for sacrifice and so we had to buy them in the temple and not bring our own. Then, we weren’t allowed to use our own money to buy the animals. We had to exchange our own money for special temple money which we could then use to buy the animals and whatever else we needed. This way, the leaders and the chief priests made a lot of money out of the people as they came to try and worship God.’

‘Anyway, as I was saying, when Jesus arrived in the temple, He went kind of crazy – as in He got very angry!! I guess He must have seen what was going on, that the ordinary people were being cheated, and that all that mattered to the leaders was making money. First, Jesus drove out all the merchants and their customers! Then, and we couldn’t believe our eyes when He did this, He turned over the tables of the moneychangers, scattering both the temple money and the ordinary money all over the floor! Not only that, but He also knocked over the stalls of those who were selling doves for sacrifice, and then refused to let anyone into the temple who was bringing in merchandise of any type! And as He did this He shouted, ‘The Scriptures say, ‘My Temple will be called a place of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!’’

‘We just watched – open-mouthed! This was going to cause real problems with the chief priests! But after Jesus had done this, showing how unhappy He was that the place for meeting God had become a place for making money – the blind and the lame came and found Him. They came to Him in the temple and He healed them all!’

‘The chief priests and teachers of the law saw all these wonderful miracles and, to their disgust, as Jesus healed these people, some children started shouting, ‘Praise God for the Son of David.’’

‘‘Have you heard what these children are saying?’ they asked, furiously.’

‘’Yes, I have,’ Jesus replied. ‘But haven’t you read what the Scriptures say? They say, ‘From the mouths of children and infants you have prepared praise.’ After this, we went back to Bethany and stayed there overnight.’ (PAUSE)

‘Next morning as we headed back to Jerusalem I felt sure Jesus would be in trouble with the chief priests and teachers of the law for the way He’d cleared out the temple, so when we arrived I wasn’t surprised to see a group of them waiting to talk to Him. ‘By whose authority did you drive out the merchants from the Temple yesterday? they demanded. ‘Who gave you this authority?’’

 ‘Jesus looked at the group of them but instead of answering their question, He asked one of His own. ‘I will tell you who gave me the authority to do all these things if you can answer one simple question. John’s baptism, did it come from heaven or was it merely a human thing?’’

‘The group huddled together to discuss the problem through. ‘What’re we going to say?’ they asked. ‘If we say it was a heavenly thing, then Jesus will ask us why we didn’t believe John. And, if we say it was a human thing, the crowd’ll mob us because they’re convinced John was a prophet.’ So after some more discussion they said to Jesus, ‘We don’t know.’’

‘’Well then,’ replied Jesus. ‘I won’t answer your question either! Instead,’ He continued, ‘think about this. A man with two sons told his older son, ‘Son, would you go and do some work in the field for me today?’ The son replied, ‘No, I’m not going to do that.’ But later on he changed his mind and went and did what his father had asked him to do. Then, the father went and found his other son and said the same thing to him. ‘Yes, of course, I’ll go,’ said the younger son. But in fact, he didn’t go at all. (P) Which of the two sons obeyed their father?’’

‘‘The first one of course,’ answered the group of chief priests and teachers of the law.’

‘Then looking at them closely Jesus explained the meaning of the story: ‘I’ll tell you a fact!’ He said, ‘Corrupt tax collectors and all kinds of wicked people are entering the Kingdom of God ahead of you! For John came and showed you the way of being right with God, and you didn’t believe him. But the tax collectors and wicked people did, and have become right with God themselves – turning away from their sins! And even after you saw this, you still refused to turn from your sins and believe him.’’

Episode NT24 – Blind Bartimaeus

tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on Mark chapter 10 verses 46 to 52

Blind Bartimaeus

On the whole, life was pretty tough for Bartimaeus. Oh, it was ok when Jericho, the city where he lived had a festival or celebration. Then Bartimaeus would have more than enough to eat. But that wasn’t most days. Most days Bartimaeus would be found sitting by the side of the main road that went all the way through Jericho, and on to Jerusalem, with his begging bowl in hand, hoping and praying that somebody would give Him what he needed to make it through the day.

Of course it hadn’t always been like that. There’d been a time when Bartimaeus had worked in the fields and vineyards with everybody else.

But the day had come when the owner of the vineyard had been cross with Bartimaeus. Apparently, he’d left lots of grapes on the vine. And then … it became hard to recognise his friends. And the sun … it didn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to! (PAUSE) The truth was – Bartimaeus was going blind. And it’s not like being blind today where there’s lots a blind person can do. In Bartimaeus’ time the only thing he could do – was become a beggar.

And so each day ended up being pretty much the same. And today, when Bartimaeus woke up, he thought it was going to be a day like any other. (P) As he woke he shivered in the cold morning air and pulled his cloak tightly around his shoulders. And then he reached to find his begging bowl. There was some bread left from yesterday. OK it was a bit stale and hard, but when you’re a beggar you can’t afford to be fussy. (P)

After he’d finished his small breakfast, Bartimaeus reached out his hand to find his stick, and then made his way slowly down to his usual spot by the side of the road, under a big tree that gave him some protection from the hot midday sun. And there he waited.

But today wasn’t going to be like any other day. There was already something different happening. You see when you’re blind, quite often your hearing seems to work much better. And Bartimaeus had learned to recognise the people of Jericho not by what they looked like, but by how they sounded.

Who was that, oh yes, he recognised those fast footsteps. That was young Miriam. But where was she off too? (P) And hang on, who was that? Ah, of course! He recognised that limp and walk with a stick. That was old Caleb! But he hadn’t heard Caleb moving so fast in years! And who were those people he was talking to? In fact, where was everybody going? It seemed as if everyone was leaving the city! He wanted to ask why, but there was nobody to ask! So there he sat, begging bowl in hand – waiting. (PAUSE)

It was quite a lot later that day when he heard it. It was the sound of a large crowd. And they were heading his way. So that’s where everybody had gone. They’d gone to see some really important person who was on their way through Jericho and on to Jerusalem. But Bartimaeus didn’t know who it was. And so as the crowd got closer and the first few people started to filter past, he called out.

‘Hey, hey, excuse me, can you tell me – what’s going on?’

 ‘What?’ said a passer-by, ‘Oh don’t you know? It’s Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth, He’s coming through town on His way to Jerusalem.’

Jesus of Nazareth! Even Bartimaeus had heard of Jesus of Nazareth, and the incredible things he’d said. People were still talking about them months after he’d said them.

And, there were all those healings! It was said that Jesus had made people who couldn’t walk, walk again! And that He’d made people who couldn’t hear, hear again. It was even said that Jesus made people who couldn’t see, (PAUSE) see again!!!’ Jesus made blind people see!

All of a sudden Bartimaeus knew what he should be doing. Oh, he just hoped he hadn’t missed Jesus. So he called out in a loud voice.

The first few people who heard Bartimaeus calling – told him to shut up! ‘Oh Bartimaeus be quiet will you. Jesus isn’t going to be interested in a blind beggar like you. Be quiet!’

But Bartimaeus wasn’t the giving up kind, and he called even louder. ‘Jesus, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. Son of David, have mercy on me.’     (PAUSE)

There was a man in the crowd, constantly being jostled by the people. Just trying to make His way through Jericho and yet listen to and help the constant stream of people who came to Him. And as He made His way forward, He heard His name being called over and over again. ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.’

As He walked He started to look for the owner of the voice and eventually He saw a scruffy, blind beggar sitting by the side of the road shouting out for all he was worth. So Jesus stopped and said to some of His disciples, ‘Bring him to me.’

The disciples went over to where the blind beggar was still shouting his head off, and tried to quieten him down a little. ‘SSSHHH – It’s OK, you can be quiet now, the Master’s calling for you.’

When Bartimaeus heard this he leapt up, threw off his cloak, and held out his hands.  Jesus’ disciples took him by the arms and led him to Jesus. And when he arrived – he heard a voice asking him, ‘What is it? What do you want me to do for you?’

‘Oh teacher,’ said Bartimaeus. ‘I want to be able to see again.’ (P)

And then he heard Jesus’ voice again. (P) ‘Because you believed that I could make you well – you have been healed.’

At that moment Bartimaeus had to cover his eyes to cope with the light that came streaming in. And the first thing he saw – was the smiling face of Jesus- filled with love. Then Bartimaeus leapt for joy, shouting and singing praise to God, because Jesus had healed him.

And when the crowd realised what Jesus had done they were astonished, and they too started praising God, as Jesus continued, to slowly make His way through Jericho and on to Jerusalem.