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  • Writer's pictureJill Ball


We respect people who are focused and driven, but it isn't always appealing.

Zeal can be off-putting. So in what way way Jesus full of zeal?

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
“It is written,” he said to them, “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, ’but you are making it a den of robbers.”
Matt 21 v 10 - 13

Jesus who looks Chinese
An Eastern Jesus

The temple of Herod the Great was completed just before the birth of Christ. It took 1 1/2 years to refurbish and rebuild. At the very centre was the Holy of Holies, which only the chief priest entered once a year on the Day of Atonement.

Next was the court of the priests.

Beyond this court was the court of men,

then the court of women,

and finally, the outmost place, was the court of the gentiles.

During the time of Jesus there was a notice saying that non-Jews, or gentiles, were forbidden to enter the inner courts on pain of death.

Jesus, who looks black
A Black Jesus

King Solomon built the first temple around 950 BC. When he dedicated it, he prayed that God would hear any foreigner who prayed in the temple so that they might know the name of the Lord, and fear and honour him.

A European Jesus, with blond hair
A Blond, European Jesus

The prophet Isaiah talks about foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord, to serve and love him, that God will give them joy in the house of prayer. The temple is called a house of prayer for all nations, where people from every nation can come to pray.

The prophet Jeremiah even asks,’ Has this house, which bears my name, become a den of robbers to you?’ Jesus was quoting this prophecy.

How could the gentiles come to their court to pray, when it was full of money changers, merchants and animals for the sacrifices?

This was a monopoly, ripe for corruption. First you had to exchange your money for temple money at a rate set by the temple authorities. Then you needed to buy a ‘perfect’ animal, which had been approved by the priests.

Clearly the temple authorities were cheating the faithful.

The name of God was being associated with thieves.

It was no longer a house of prayer, but a place where God’s name was dishonoured.

No wonder Jesus was angry.

Just imagine the chaos.

This clip from the film Jesus Christ Superstar gives us a taste of the scene.

Read about how Jesus broke the rules

What did Jesus look like?

Jesus was a Jew from the Middle East. He wasn't Chinese or Black, but he wasn't white either. He didn't have blond hair and blue eyes, but a swarthy skin with dark hair.

We cannot know for sure, but it is extremely likely that he looked just like the other Jews in the first century AD.

Coming soon - What did Jesus Look like?

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