First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone:(203) 744-6177

That Time When Jesus Totally Lost It

Greed and graft defiled the temple.

Rev Dr Pat Kriss(Posted February 29, 2024)

“Everyone knows that where there is something that is capable of giving profit, then exploited it will be.” 
--Doris Lessing

If there’s one scene in the New Testament that disturbs most readers, it’s the one that comes up as our Gospel for this Sunday. This is the passage where Jesus, newly arrived in Jerusalem for what will be the last week of his life, goes to the Temple to pray (John 2:13-22).

The Pre-Launch Sequence to Going Ballistic

The Temple was packed, not so much with worshippers, but with crates of live animals, boxes of doves, places where goats and sheep are tied up before they would be bought and sacrificed. Most numerous in the temple were the money changers at their tables, getting ready to make a fat profit when they would exchange the people’s Greek or Roman coins in order to buy the sacrificial  animals. That’s because the Hebrew coins didn’t bear the image that the Ten Commandments forbade — no graven image of the Emperor in the House of God.

We Have Liftoff!

Jesus took one look around at the menagerie of men and animals and – to put it in modern terms, Jesus went ballistic.

The people around him startled and then ran as he overturned the tables full of money and reached for some cords he held as if they were a whip. The merchants were confused. All they saw was a bustling afternoon of commerce.

Why Did Jesus Lose His Temper?

But Jesus wasn’t confused. All he saw were people not just ignoring a commandment that forbids the making and use of graven images of political leaders. No. Those money changers were also scamming the faithful who had come to pray and sacrifice, by scalping them for much more than the value of the coins.

It wasn’t the presence of the dirt and noise of the animals that defiled God’s Temple; it was the greed and graft of those who ignored what was right there in the Ten Commandments. The crowd reaction was like the one in the movie My Cousin Vinny. When the Alabama Judge admonished the fledgling attorney dressed in New York leather that he had to dress respectfully for the court. The surprised attorney, Vinny Gambini replied, “you mean you were SERIOUS about that?”

Jesus the Protector

But Jesus was indeed serious -- about respect, about people who exploit the vulnerable. Mild and loving Jesus became Protector Jesus; more than a healer, more than a rabbi, more than a prophet.

Jesus became what we all need so much in our lives. A protector who, more than shielding us with his Mother Hen wings, will, when needed, take an aggressive move to deliver us from evil.

Among those who follow the path of Jesus, there are many quiet protectors who have stood ready to act, and in fact HAVE acted to shield us from the powers that seek to destroy. This Sunday we will meet one member of the animal kingdom who can function that way and has an important part of the Holy Week story: the humble donkey.

Join us on Sunday and learn things about the protectors in your life you never knew.


First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Est. 1696

Phone: (203) 744-6177

Office Hours:
Monday Closed
Tuesday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Friday Closed

Thrift Shop Hours:
Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Sunday Worship:
Sunday   10:00 a.m.–11 a.m.


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