Jesus and Animal Sacrifices

 Jesus at TempleWhen Jesus was a child, it was still the custom for doves to be offered as a sacrifice unto the Hebrew God. Peddlers sold the animals that were to be sacrificed outside the temple.

In the Bible, there is an account that tells the story of how Jesus went with his family on the pilgrimage to Jerusalem in celebration of the Passover. Joseph took Jesus to purchase two doves that would serve as the animal sacrifice for the Passover. He selected two clean, beautiful turtle doves that met all of the strict requirements necessary for all sacrificial animals. Once Jesus selected his doves he took them to the temple to be sacrificed.

Jesus himself was; at that time, a Rabbi or teacher. Since he was not a Levite or Priest he would not have performed the sacrifices himself. His chore would have been to select the sacrifices and then take them to the appointed holy men who carried out all of the sacrifices.

As an adult, Jesus revisited the temple. Once last time, Jesus made the long pilgrimage into Jerusalem to celebrate the holiest of Jewish religious festivals, Passover. When he got to the temple, he was appalled by the selling of cattle, doves, goats, etc for sacrifices inside and near the temple. He made quite a scene as he raged in with his whip he had made from braiding cords together.

Jesus turned over the tables of those selling sacrifices and exchanging money. He spoke very strongly against what he seen, "How dare you turn my father's house into a market!" The chief priests and the teachers heard the commotion and the comments that Jesus made.

As a result, Jesus made many enemies with important and influential people who set out to then have Jesus killed. Ultimately, it was speaking out against these sacrifices that cost Jesus his life.

While Christian and Jewish Theologians alike tend to reason that Jesus was appalled at the dishonesty of the moneychangers in the marketplace. These moneychangers sold their sacrificial loot to those making the pilgrimage to temple and therefore currency had to be exchanged.

However, that belief is not backed up by any religious text that would confirm dishonesty was even present within the marketplace. What is stated is that moneychangers handled the currency exchange of those making the pilgrimage needed. After the exchange had been made, animals were selected and paid for. The slaughter required was then carried out. No where is dishonesty mentioned and is therefore solely opinion.

Jesus was not killed because he wanted to protect those making their religious pilgrimage by exposing the dishonesty of the moneychangers. Jesus was killed because he was attacking the practice of animal sacrifice. This was causing financial harm, but more importantly Jesus was openly shaking the very foundation that Jerusalem's religion was based upon.