Needless to say, the pigeons were frightened of these three intruders and were not only frantically flying all around us, but landing on us! Before we even arrived, I assumed that I’d get to laughing so hard that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish what I was there for. Pigeons landing in my hair, totally missing the target that I was swinging at and watching the others attempting to capture their prey was about all I could handle! I worked really hard not to become so hysterical with laughter that I would be of no help! At one point I felt that I was near to rolling on the floor in laughter. The urge didn’t last long when I considered what I’d be rolling in, if I gave into it!
We were quite the team. One of us guarded the door to the cage, while another netted a pigeon and the third carried it to its temporary confinement. When we caught the 30 some that we were after, the owners “released” us from the bin and we stood around reminiscing about our experience. The three of us were sniffling and coughing due to the dust that was stirred-up by the anxious birds. Rubbing my nose to relieve the itching, I ended up with a nostril full of pigeon poo! Can I be hysterical now!
I wasn’t thinking about it while confined in that dirty, ammonia smelling bin, but it’s since come to me that pigeons were considered sacred in the Bible. For those who were poor, pigeons were used as a sin offering which was a mandatory atonement for cleansing from defilement and as a burnt offering which was a voluntary act of worship, expressing complete surrender to God. The person making the offering laid his/her hand on the head of the animal symbolizing that his/her sin was now transferred upon it and then he/she slew it. The blood of the animal was accepted as atonement for that person’s sin making it possible for him/her to commune with God.
Prior to the Passover Feast, Jewish dealers set-up booths in the temple area specifically set apart for Gentile worship. They were selling, at extravagant prices, ritually pure items required for temple sacrifice.
so the religious leaders were using the temple as a cover for their fraudulent activity;
that is until Jesus shows up and ruins their business!
Outraged by their blatant disregard for God’s provision for non-Jewish people,
and overturned the money-changers' tables
and the seats of the pigeon-dealers.
“It is written,
“My house will be called a house of prayer,
but you are making it a den of robbers
While emphasis is typically placed upon the deceptive activity of the dealers, by clearing the temple of the sellers and the buyers, Jesus was announcing to the thousands of people who were there from all parts of the ancient world that He was preparing a new way for all people to have communion with God through Him. By specifically reacting toward the pigeon-dealers, who were getting wealthy off of those who could not afford grander sacrifices, Jesus was deliberately announcing that even the poor were included in His plan.
A few days after Jesus cleanses the temple of such deception, He offered Himself upon a cross to bear your sins and mine as the all-sufficient sacrifice. His Father is completely satisfied with the atonement that Jesus made on our behalf.
are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood,
offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ
The spiritual act of worship that is holy and pleasing to God is to offer ourselves to Him as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). Don’t let anyone deceive you into believing that you have to come to a certain place on a specific day, wearing certain clothes, offering money in order to satisfy Him. Our Father has no requirements that we have to pray in a specific way, read our Bible any particular amount or praise Him from a mandatory position. If anyone speaks to you of such deceptive requirements in order to commune with God, you might want to look and see if they have pigeon poo on the back of their hands!
P.S. Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at: http://whole-heartedlife.blogspot.com/. You may also contact me at:
In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
505 Jefferson St.
Diagonal, IA 50845