Currently at the Tuesday night Tribal Gatherings, we are going through John's Gospel. The second part of chapter two, sees the narrative of Jesus throwing a tantrum in the Temple - caused a right rumpous it did - money, tables and feathers eveywhere. Religious folk asking JC to justify his actions and come up with a miracle to prove his authority on the matter completely missed the point.
The bottom line is that God has always wanted a connection with people. This temple and the sacrifices that were offered there was the accepted way at the time in Jerusalem - there was even a special area where non Jews could enter and pray. It was in this area traders had set up selling even the cheapest animals for sacrifice at extortionate prices that the poor could hardly pay for. It was where the money changers exchanged foreign curency, at very high rates, into the temple acceptable local currency of those pilgrims from further afield. The Priests turned a blind eye to all this going on. This was about dishonesty, exploitation and hypocrisy of the highest degree and Jesus was seriously pissed off about it.
Ordinary folk, some who made lengthy, difficult journeys, non-religious folk wanting to reach out to God and sincere poor worshippers were being denied the opportunity to connect with God because the religious expression of the day turned a blind eye to injustice and greed on it's doorstep. I can't help thinking this sounds horribly familiar.