Just a follow up on my last post when I asked the questions, Who were the thieves and what were they stealing? On Sunday I asked the folks in sunday school and others as well the same questions and these were some of the responses.
The first thoughts that came to my and others mind was that those who were doing the selling of doves and the money changers were the thieves .The money changers would take the pilgrims foreign coinage and exchange it for that which would pay the tribute money to the temple at a poor rate for the pilgrims and make a substantial profit as would the seller of doves. Many unscrupulous fellows would engage in these practises and it could be said that they were stealing from the people and also stealing from God.
Another thought was that the priests were takeing that which was a holy place, the temple courtyard, and debasing it into a common thing. A market place. Thereby stealing the reverence that such a place should have in the hearts and minds of the people.
I'm inclined to think that Jesus had in mind that the priests and the Pharisees were the thieves. Especially from their reaction to what he said. They created a system that was so burdensome and a load so heavy for the common Jew that he could never find rest in it A system that pointed to them as the best example of how to please God. A system of works. In essence they were stealing the opportunity for them to trust God by faith. They were stealing the faith of Abraham and turning it into a works religion. That's what came to my mind as I pondered this question .