Like a Bad Penny ...

Israel displays coins from ancient Jewish revolt -- News story about recent archaeological discoveries beneath the Temple Mount



They are such small things to bear such great scars. The violence which destroyed the Second Temple in AD 70 is legendary. These coins were excavated "from an ancient street below the Temple Mount." Some of these coins were "melted down to unrecognizable chunks of pockmarked and carbonized bronze from the flames that destroyed the Temple." 

Jesus foretold this destruction moaning beneath the weight of the cross on the road to Calvary. Luke 23:27-31:
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' At that time people will say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!' for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?"
Blessed are the barren!! says Christ. Jesus knew how bad it would get. What is the curse that Jerusalem took upon itself for betraying Christ?

A Contemplation of Coins

Bet let's imagine these coins for a moment. It was the perversion of wealth that had so perverted the Temple. It was the moneychangers who so inflamed Christ as to ignite his righteous fury. But it was more than that still. Worshipping at the Temple had become an economic activity. Poor people had to scrimp and save to pay the temple tax. They had to pay to worship, if they could afford it at all. 

Obviously, this would inflame Jesus, but there's more.  

Jesus' own family was too poor to worship at the temple. Joseph and Mary bought two turtledoves, because they could not afford a lamb. The LAMB OF GOD, himself, could not offer a lamb in sacrifice. 
 
Notice, also, that Mary is always with Jesus when he offers sacrifice. She will be there at the cross, too.  (Two doves or one lamb ...)
 
The humility here of Jesus and Mary is profound. Mary must offer a sacrifice at the Temple because the Jewish laws held that pregnant women are unclean for seven days after the birth of a son. Was Mary, the Immaculate Conception, in her perpetual virginity, unclean after giving birth by the power of the Holy Spirit? Why would Jesus, the lamb of God given up for the sins of the world, be required to sacrifice a lamb for his sins?
 
... they couldn't even pay the price to sacrifice at the Temple, those who paid the price for all of us, ransoming mankind from sin.
 
And here we have these coins, scarred and nearly destroyed, found beneath the Temple Mount. What truth can they tell archaeologists that is greater than the witness they bear to the Incarnate Truth?
 
Pray with Me
 
Imagine holding one of these small coins in your hand. What other hands have held this coin? Feel the weight of this mutiliated chunk of bronze. Feel the weight of history in this coin, of prophesy and of curse. This coin was minted in innocence, corrupted by sin. Feel and see this disfigured coin. The image that it once bore is now almost unrecognizable.

Know that, in a similar way, Christ was disfigured. He who was without sin, bore the pain and anguish of all sin. And yet, He who has power over life and death cannot be destroyed, but behold! makes all things new. 

Pray that Christ will renew you, even as he renews the face of the earth and all the coins hidden within it. Pray that you will be lifted up on the last day, even as Christ raises himself, the new and everlasting Temple of the Holy Spirit.

We pray for all these things in the name of Christ. Amen.     

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