A recent study by Harvard and Princeton scholars reveals that poverty can have a harmful effect on the brain. When people are unable to make ends meet, worry occupies a large part of the mind. It goes beyond stress to pay bills; it keeps parents from parenting, going to school, or taking their medicine. The study shows how poverty affects those with high-interest payday loans, tax-lien foreclosures, and even buying milk and bread. It’s no wonder Jesus chased greedy merchants out of the Temple. They had taken over space meant for Gentiles and were using it to exploit the poor. They overcharged people as they exchanged Roman money for the Temple tax. They cheated worshipers as they bought animals for sacrifices. Matthew Chapter 21 describes the scene this way: “Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of moneychangers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, ‘The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!’ Jesus then healed the blind and cured the lame—God-centered activities. Little children recognized Him as the Messiah and shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” This outraged the leaders. Notice how Jesus defended the exploited, the afflicted, and the children. We should do the same.
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