Erich Lessing

Jesus enters Jerusalem, as depicted on a carved wood panel by the German artist Tilman Riemenschneider (1460–1531); the panel forms part of the altarpiece in the church of Saint Jacob, Rothenburg, Germany. Arriving in Jerusalem before Passover, Jesus soon throws over the tables of the money-changers in the Temple, preaches to the lame and blind, and is arrested and crucified by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate.

In throwing over the tables, some scholars argue, Jesus repudiated the sacrificial system and purity laws associated with the Temple. Author Fredriksen points out, however, that Jesus observed several pilgrimage festivals by traveling to Jerusalem, implicitly accepting the norms of purity required of those who entered the Temple. Jesus probably arrived in Jerusalem prior to Passover because the purity rules called for a series of immersions in the pools adjoining the Temple compound on the part of those intending to partake of the Passover feast. It was not opposition to the purity code that in the end cost Jesus his life on earth, Fredriksen concludes, but rather his proclamation of the imminent arrival of the Kingdom of God.