Jesus Cleans His Father's House

Setting: This play takes place in the outer court yard of the temple. Make several areas for selling things. Each area should have a table (cardboard box), a chair or stool and a money box with some coins inside.

Sound: Tape or record with voices of children singing praises.

Rabbi Inspects the sheep
Abe The money changer
John Sells the sheep
Marcus John's son, helps with the sheep
Paulus A farmer
Blind Man has a rag tied over his eyes and uses a cane to feel his way
Narrator Sets the scene for the play.

As the scene opens, Abe and the priest are by the tables. Abe is checking the money inside the boxes as they talk. John and Marcus are off stage waiting to come into the area.

Narrator When our play begins, it is just before the Passover celebration. In Jesus' time, the Passover holiday was as important to them as our Christmas holiday is to us. People from all around traveled to Jerusalem so that they could celebrate Passover at the temple.

Just as we look for a perfect Christmas tree and just the right gift, they looked for a perfect Passover lamb. The lamb would be the family's Passover sacrifice to God asking that their sins would be forgiven and that He would take care of them.

Today it is four days before Passover and the people are bringing their lambs to the temple so that the priests can inspect them to see if they are perfect. Only perfect young lambs could be offered as Passover sacrifices. We're in the outer courts of the temple just before the people arrive to have the temple priests inspect their lambs.

Rabbi It is almost time for the people to start coming in. Are you sure John and Marcus are coming?

Abe They'll be here. They'll be here. (Points to John and Marcus who walk forward). Look, here they come now. John! Marcus! We are over here. Hurry up.

John Hello Abe, Greetings Rabbi. Do you remember my son, Marcus?

Rabbi Yes, yes. (Waves his hand impatiently) We can talk later. We're almost late. What took you so long?

John You should try moving a flock of lambs through that crowd! We got stuck behind a parade. That strange guy they call Jesus was riding on a donkey and half the town was with him. They had palm branches and kids all over the place! We lost track of three lambs in that mess!

Abe On a donkey? What a joke! Some people say he is the Messiah. What kind of a Messiah rides into town on a donkey?

Marcus Uncle Matthew says that Jesus thinks our leaders have everything backwards. He says that anyone who wants to be really great should spend his life serving others. Maybe Jesus is riding on a donkey to show that the Messiah comes in love to serve people and to give his life in service to others just like Uncle Matthew says.

John Your Uncle Matthew is a fool! And He's following around after another fool!

Rabbi Right! The Messiah will come with armies on powerful horses and he will kill all of our enemies and make us all rich. Right now, however, there is no Messiah around so we have to make ourselves rich. Quit wasting time and get down to business. Abe, what is the plan?

Abe John, you and Marcus will take care of the sheep. I'll take care of the money changing. The Rabbi will inspect the lambs the people bring, fail most of them and, of course, collect his share of the profits from us.

John Sit here Marcus (points to a chair and box booth). After the Rabbi flunks their lambs, tell the owners that you'll take their damaged lamb for a trade in and I'll decide how much to charge them for the perfect lamb to replace it.

Marcus But we only brought a small herd of lambs. We don't have enough to trade everyone.

(All the men laugh)

Abe I see you have not taught the boy, John. We recycle the lambs we buy from the people. When you run out of the lambs you brought, start selling the ones you got from them.

Rabbi Just be careful not to get caught! We don't want to ruin a good thing.

Abe And remember, they cannot pay you with the money they brought. Some of their money even has pictures of idols and false gods on it! When they go to pay you, tell them they have to come to me to exchange whatever kind of money they brought for pure money that can be used in the temple.

Rabbi That's right, Marcus, don't cheat poor old Abe out of his share! Old Abe charges more every year for his temple money.

Abe Don't tease me, Rabbi, you get your share out of all of us.

Marcus This seems like a bad thing to do. What about poor people? Maybe they can't afford to buy another lamb.

John If they want to take part in the celebration they'll find the money somewhere. If they can't take part this year, they'll just have to work harder and bring more money along next year.

Rabbi That's right, John. People who really want to serve God will come up with the money to celebrate the holiday with a perfect lamb just like God said. We're just working to remind people that they need to put God first in their lives. They need to plan to have enough money when they come to the temple. If poor people would work harder and plan better they would not be so poor.

Abe That's right. And we'd be richer too if they brought more money with them.

(The men all laugh)

Rabbi Now get to work and no more questions, Marcus. It is time you learned about the real world. This is how God's work gets done in the temple and if you want to be part of God's team you'll have to learn to cooperate.

(Each man sits at his own booth)

(Paulus enters and goes to the Rabbi)

Paulus I've brought my best lamb to be inspected. This year I made sure that even his teeth were perfect.

Rabbi (Begins to inspect the sheep) Ear mites! This lamb has ear mites. There's no way a Passover lamb can have ear mites.

Paulus Where? I don't see anything.

Rabbi Of course not, ear mites are too small for you to see. I'm specially trained and I have gifts from God such as very good eyes so that I can see ear mites that you don't notice. This lamb definitely has ear mites. You'll just have to take it over there to Marcus to see about trading it in on a perfect lamb. Marcus here comes another bad lamb. See what you can do for Paulus. We don't want him to miss out on the Passover because of ear mites.

Jesus begins to enter the area.

Marcus Look! Father! There's Jesus. Is Uncle Matthew with Him?

Rabbi What is He doing here? Doesn't He know how much trouble He's in around here? Everyone has had just about enough of His talk. He's ruining business.

(Jesus walks through the area turning over the tables and the chairs. At the end of the line, He stops and faces the people who are standing there looking surprised)

Jesus It is written, ``My house shall be called a house of prayer.'' But you have made it a den of thieves.

Blind man (approaches Jesus using a cane to feel his way around) Master, Master, I've heard that you heal people. Please fix my eyes so that I can see.

(Begin tape of children praising Jesus. Jesus takes the rag off of the blind man's eyes. The man looks around, smiles and then throws down his cane.)

Rabbi This is just too much! How dare you make this mess in the temple? Don't you know that the leaders are already angry enough to kill you? And what is that awful noise?

John It sounds like the children who were following Jesus in the parade.

Rabbi Do you hear what they are saying?

Abe They're saying ``Hosanna to the Son of David.'' Those children are saying that He is the Messiah.

Rabbi Jesus, this has gone far enough. Those children are calling you the Son of David. That's blasphemy! Do you hear what they are saying?

Jesus Yes. Have you never read in the Scriptures where it says. ``Out of the mouths of babies and nursing infants You have perfected praise?''

Jesus walks away with Marcus and the no-longer-blind man following after Him.

The other men shake their heads and walk off in the other direction. Fade out the tape.

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