top of page

Everything - Chapter 11

After a fitful night’s sleep, Addi decided to skip his routine of morning tea on the veranda. Instead, he quickly gathered his notes and a copy of the final agreement for Pilate to sign and left for the temple. Knowing he had a pre-meeting scheduled with Gavriel to go over the final agreement, and prepare for their meeting with the Roman Governor, he left a message with the guards at the front gate for Gavriel, asking him to meet him on the steps of the Beautiful Gate leading into the Court of Women.

Although the skies were clear, the early morning walk to the temple with his two guards was cold. The streets were already getting busy as the vendors along the way were busy preparing their storefronts. As they entered through the Royal Bridge and into the Royal Porch area, he saw the Court of Gentiles already crowded with people and livestock. Most were either buying a meal or exchanging money to pay the half-shekel Temple tax or negotiate the purchase of the required animals for their particular sacrifices. The noise in the temple mount area seemed almost deafening compared to the quiet streets outside.

He took the direct route across the Court of Gentiles to the steps in front of the Court of Women. As he approached the steps, above the noise of the crowds and animals, he overheard an argument drawing his attention. He saw a visitor arguing with a money-changer over the exchange rate for his coins. Money-changers were not uncommon as the High Priest had ordered only Tyrian shekels would be accepted for the Annual Temple tax. The stated reason was that the Roman and Greek coins had images of emperors or gods on them, considered idolatrous by the Temple authorities. However, it was also known that these 'priest appointed' moneychangers extracted a profit for their services, which they were then required to share with the Temple.

Addi knew the visitor would eventually realize the only way to enter the main temple was to pay the exchange fees. As Addi turned back toward the steps, he froze in place as he saw a group of men sitting on the steps, with a smaller crowd of women sitting around them. It was not the crowd that caused Addi to halt mid-stride, but his recognition of the man who sat in the middle of them. It was Jesus.

Realizing his awkwardness standing there staring at Jesus, Addi looked away and moved up the stairs to a place he could better watch them in the growing light of morning. Addi could see the men sitting around him were still tired and disheveled from their previous night's sleep and were mostly talking among themselves. Jesus, on the other hand, seemed awake and alert, busy braiding a strand of cords together as he silently looked out over the temple grounds below him. He, too, seemed to be listening to the ongoing argument below over the incessant bleating and mooing of sheep and cattle in the nearby pens, the cooing of doves stuffed inside their cages stacked on the nearby benches and the growing rumble of voices echoing across the stone Temple grounds.1

He was wasting no time, Addi thought as he marveled at the man's fearless determination to get his message out to the people. Did he know what Hadar and Caiaphas were planning for him? He wondered as he watched him sitting with the others. They all seemed to be sharing a meal together as they laughed and talked on the steps, but Addi was too far away to hear what was being said. Despite his serious focus on his handiwork in front of him, Jesus would smile at their interactions and interject his own thoughts to their discussion, often appearing to even instigate the laughter within the group. Addi could see they loved him and respected him greatly, but there was none of the fear or nervousness that he felt. If they believed he was truly the Messiah, they would not be acting so casually around him. It was another confirmation for Addi that Jesus was not the Messiah.

He continued watching from a distance trying to think what he would say or ask Jesus when he gathered the courage to do so. He thought about his last embarrassing meeting and wondered if Jesus would even remember or recognize him. As Hadar had pointed out, if he was not the Messiah, then why did he even care what happened to him? As he was thinking about his question, Jesus suddenly stood up and started walking down the steps with the cord now looped in his right hand. His followers seemed surprised by his action and remained on the steps, watching him head toward the area of the nearby money-changers, where a growing line of people were standing in front of the two separate tables waiting their turn.

Walking to the head of the line between the two tables, Jesus began speaking to the money-changers motioning to the line of people in front of him. Addi could not hear the interaction between Jesus and the two men, but he could see them becoming very agitated by whatever Jesus was saying. Addi could see more than one money-changer speak aggressively to Jesus, but he could not make out the words as the man arrogantly jabbed his finger toward the Holy Temple and then glared back at Jesus. Whatever Jesus' response was, it caused the money-changer to reply as he motioned first to one of the armed guards standing behind him and then back at Jesus. Jesus shook his head in response and waved his hand toward the other tables, toward Solomon's Porch, and then across the whole Court of Gentiles area. Then he pointed back at the moneyboxes sitting on the two tables in front of him. The money-changer apparently decided to ignore Jesus, looked past him and motioned for the next person in line to step forward. Jesus tried to continue his conversation with the first money-changer, who ignored him, and then with the other who responded the same way.

Apparently defeated, Addi watched Jesus walked over to the merchants standing in front of the cages of doves and then to those in charge of the sheep. At each stop, he motioned toward the nearby entrances to the Temple Mount and toward the money-changers. Both men motioned for Jesus to leave and turned their backs on whatever it was he was trying to say to them.

Addi had been so intent on watching Jesus, he had not noticed the size of the crowd who now gathered to watch what was unfolding. There was also a growing number of Pharisees who seemed to be watching with amusement at Jesus' fruitless efforts and the indignation that was becoming evident on Jesus' face. Apparently, Jesus' inner circle understood the look on his face as they pushed through the crowd in an effort to draw close to him. As they closed around him, he closed his eyes a moment in what appeared to be a prayer, then walked straight toward the two tables where the money-changers sat.

Seeing him coming, the two money-changers looked at each other and smiled as Jesus came to a stop between their two tables. The smiles quickly left their faces as Jesus swept the money boxes from first one table, then the other, scattering the coins across the ground in front of them. Then with a hand grasping the edge of each table he overturned them both with one motion. The shock of the sudden action not only silenced the snickering crowd but stunned the guards, as well. Then Jesus turned and marched across the area to where the cages of doves were stacked and began to break open the latches pushing them over onto the ground as a cloud of doves began shooting to the sky.

"Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

Not stopping there, he confidently walked over to the sheep pens ripping open the gates. Using the whip of cords he had made, he began driving the sheep out, sending them fleeing past the nearby crowds and into the Temple grounds beyond. He then turned to the stunned crowd, first looking directly at the money-changers, then at the merchants, and finally at the Pharisees.

"Is it not written: 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'"2 He said calmly, but sternly as he rolled the whip up into his hands.

At first no one moved, or said anything, until finally one of the Pharisees stepped into the opening where Jesus stood.

"So what miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" the Priest demanded arrogantly, but quickly humbled himself as Jesus slowly walked up to the man, whip in hand, stopped and looked into his eyes.

"Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days," Jesus replied. The priest did not respond, but another priest interjected.

"It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?"3

Strangely, Jesus did not respond or even look at the priest who had spoken; he just turned and walked back to where his disciples were waiting. They were clearly as shocked as the rest of the crowd who had witnessed everything. As he returned to the steps where he had been, his disciples and the crowd of people followed him there, asking him questions the whole way.

Addi watched as the money-changers and their guards tried to gather up their scattered coins while the sheep merchants ran into the crowd in hopes of recapturing their animals. The dove merchants just stood silently in front of their empty cages, apparently wishing they had followed the warning Jesus had given them. To avoid further conflict and loss of revenue, the Pharisee priests motioned for the money-changers and merchants to move their tables and pens further away from the area.

Addi sat there wondering what Jesus meant by his comment “destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days," and why had he ignored the Pharisees response. What temple was he speaking about? As he watched Jesus interact with his disciples and the crowd now gathering around him, he understood why people were so drawn to him. His deep conviction and confidence was inspiring and challenging at the same time.

"What is it that they see in him?" Addi heard a familiar voice mumble in disbelief to his right. Turning toward it, he saw Gavriel standing on the step next to him, looking toward Jesus who was now teaching.

"Just don't tell me you've offered him a job to work for us in business development or client relations," Gavriel chuckled. Addi was surprised Gavriel's response was completely different toward Jesus from his. Addi remained silent, which apparently concerned Gavriel who turned nervously toward him. "You didn't, did you?" he asked again. Addi shook his head.

"No, but a few of our merchants could probably use someone to do more than just release their animals." Addi replied dryly. Gavriel nodded and then smiled.

"Great idea! We sell the animals to them, Jesus scatters them, and we gather them up again and resell them. What a wonderful, lucrative idea," Gavriel said in jest and patted Addi on the back.

Addi dismissed his two guards, telling them he would meet them back at the estate. Addi and Gavriel turned and climbed the steps to an area less crowded, sat down and started going over their plans and discussion topics for their afternoon meeting with Pilate. Although Addi was listening and engaging Gavriel, he was also watching Jesus as he moved from the steps and entered through the Beautiful Gate leading to the Court of Women. Addi interrupted Gavriel and said he wanted to follow Jesus. By the look on Gavriel's face, Addi could tell Jesus had not even remotely entered his mind since their last discussion and any interest Addi had in Jesus seemed strange.

"You don't believe this guy, do you?" Gavriel asked and Addi shook his head.

"But how do we explain away the miracles he is performing?" Addi asked, pointing to a man who was leaving Jesus' presence far different than he had arrived.

"What do you mean?" Gavriel asked and Addi pointed toward a man who was now staring at his own hands, the sky and all the people in the temple grounds.

"For as long as I can remember, I have passed by that man as he sat at the Royal Bridge entrance to the Temple courts begging," Addi replied. Gavriel stared at the man but then shook his head.

"So?" Gavriel stated as his shrugged his shoulders.

"You don't remember him?" Addi asked, recalling their conversation about beggars and how Gavriel never gave them money.

"His eyes have always been milky white and misaligned," Addi replied.

Gavriel looked back to where the man stood on the steps in front of them, his eyes clear and brown, his face filled with wonder, tears of joy streaming down his face. Gavriel seemed momentarily stunned by the sight, but then shook his head.

"It's fake, it's all staged," he finally replied as if trying to convince himself more than Addi.

"A man doesn’t beg and live in poverty his whole life only to play a single part in some grand illusion. The healings are genuine. The real question is, where is that power coming from to perform them?" Addi stated and continued up the steps to follow Jesus past the Beautiful Gate and into the Court of Women.

To Addi's surprise, Gavriel, who usually loved solving a difficult problem only let this incredible moment and question pass and went back to trying to discuss the details of the meeting with Pilate.

"Wait, just wait…stop!" Addi had to finally raise his voice to get Gavriel's attention.

"There is a chance the very man we have poured our entire lives into preparing for could be standing right before you and yet you're more concerned about closing another deal than discovering the truth. Do you really even care, or is it all simply about the money and power?" Addi asked and waited for a response.

Gavriel seemed to prepare to answer, then stopped a moment and took a deep breath before continuing. Addi could see Gavriel was frustrated.

"My purpose is to prepare for the Messiah. Hadar and the other Pharisees are to find the Messiah, and when they do, they will let me know. Until then, I will focus on building those resources until I am asked to engage them," Gavriel replied angrily. Addi was both surprised and concerned by the words he had chosen to use.

"We," Addi finally replied and Gavriel was clearly confused by his response.


"I said 'we' but you said 'I' as if I was not a part of this grand purpose that 'we' have poured our lives into until 'we' are asked to engage those plans. Or am 'I' mistaken by my purpose?" Addi asked dryly as he searched Gavriel's expression. There was a brief moment that Addi thought Gavriel was going to respond differently, but he shook his head and smiled.

"No, and I'm sorry, you are right. It is 'our' purpose and always will be," Gavriel said calmly, patting Addi on the shoulder. "We seem so close to the end of our dreams, I just want to make sure we're ready when it comes." Gavriel continued to hold Addi's stare and smiled. "We still have a spare hour, so let's go find out who this Jesus fellow is. I think you're ready to meet with Pilate," Gavriel said and waited for Addi to smile and nod before turning to walk toward the Beautiful Gate. Watching Gavriel climb the steps in front of him, alarm bells began sounding inside Addi’s head.

They spent the next hour watching from a distance as Jesus spoke with everyone that came up to him. With so many people crowding around and being too far away to hear most of what was being said, Addi could only observe. Some who came to Jesus would ask questions, while others were looking to be healed. Once, he sat on the steps leading up to the Court of Men and taught a lesson to those sitting near him. He was a very busy man and with each miracle, answer and lesson, more and more people believed in him. Despite his reservations, Addi also felt moved by what he was witnessing, but as he looked around the outer areas, where he and Gavriel were standing, the Pharisees were also watching from a distance. Their expressions were far different from the people below them.