Scala/Art Resource, NY

Jesus drives out merchants from the Temple (Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15; Luke 19:45), in this fresco by the Florentine artist Giotto (c. 1266–1337), from the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy. According to author Wright, Jesus believed he was Israel’s Messiah, through whom Yahweh would restore the fortunes of his people: Not only did he behave like an eschatological prophet, announcing that Israel’s long history (to which Jesus himself belonged) was reaching its consummation, but he also told stories that hinted at the coming of a new kingdom and the return of Yahweh, and he gave new interpretations to traditional Jewish symbols—such as Sabbath observance. By overturning the tables of the money-changers, Jesus symbolically destroyed the Temple, the center of Jewish religion; in its place, Wright states, Jesus substituted his own symbols, such as the “family” of disciples and the Eucharist.