When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
Here’s a trustworthy saying: “When the leaders fear their own people, something is very wrong with their leadership.”
What’s that who said that?
At least in this case, the Jewish leaders had a great deal to fear from their people; something had to be done.
Sadly, there were no overnight polls in those days; I sure would like to see what clearing the Temple did to Jesus’ approval ratings. Of course, I suspect it might have been a “push” for it might well have delighted about the same number of people He angered, for the Temple was big business at Passover; there were jobs that depended on it. Come to think of it, I’ll bet His approval dropped.
In clearing the Temple, He asserted His role as Messiah; this would be difficult for the Jewish leaders to have missed. Coupled with His entry into the city as King, they were certainly had a second good reason for concern: Not only was He very popular with the people, He was the agent of God.
Yes indeed, something had to be done to preserve their positions, and nothing scares a politician, and make no mistake they were politicians, than losing office.
How could they turn the tide?
Their first move would be to issue a very public challenge to His authority, for in clearing the Temple, hadn’t He broken a law of some kind? It seems likely that nobody had made up a law for clearing the Temple and asserting that it is a house of prayer; who would dare? Yet He had challenged their authority in the most public of ways.
They concocted a plan…
They would send the best and the brightest to trap Him, He might win a round or two, but in the end, He would surely make a mistake…
Surely He would, after all, they were the great ones, He was only an uneducated Galilean!