What is a “den of thieves”?

20/02/11 | Posted by Sarah-L-B

What exactly is a "den of thieves"? Let us examine this age-old saying in a modern world and ask: can YOU understand how Jesus felt?

image
 New age, same feelings…

Early evening in the middle of Manchester, my friend and I found ourselves in an outrageously long line of people, patiently waiting to get into the Apollo. Tickets in hand and suitably Goth-ed up, I scanned the surrounding area. I saw the hardcore music fans who had claimed their place since early morning, the casual music lovers having a pre-gig smoke…and the army of rip-off merchants doing their usual rounds.

Looking back, it seems to me that our modern clubs and arenas have become the new “den of thieves”.

Jesus coined the phrase “den of thieves” when he encountered greedy street sellers peddling their goods to pilgrims close to the temple in Jerusalem. Their over-priced market overshadowed the true purpose of the temple, which was of course intended to be a “house of prayer”. Angered, Jesus proceeded to overturn the stalls and run the sellers out.

Today, mass gatherings of people are ten times more likely to take place in a music venue. Music, for some, is almost a religion in itself. It brings people together, and we stand in unison while enjoying our favourite bands. That’s the great thing about gigs: we all have at least one thing in common! They’re an ideal place to meet other people and have a great time. Of course, these events bring with them an army of dishonest traders who have everything from over-priced tickets to bootleg merchandise. I once saw a ticket tout who was so keen to make money he didn’t even know who was playing!

I, like many people, am disgusted by rogue traders and touts. They’re trying to swindle us and take advantage of us. They’re damaging the bands, the music industry and our bank accounts! We’ve all seen them, and I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing they would stop ripping off fans. OUR temple is being taken advantage of, just like the temple in Jerusalem. Let us not fall victim to this modern den of thieves. It happened then, and its still happening now.

Somehow I can’t see Jesus approving of £100 gig tickets and a shirt that shrinks in the wash.

Modern-day occurrences such as these are a very real way of understanding the way in which Jesus may have felt, and provide an insight into his motivation for saying and doing certain things. You don’t need to read a very large, dusty Bible or go to Sunday school in order to gain understanding. Jesus experienced the ups and downs of life just as every person does…

Let us all learn from the experience of life. Simply living can help us to see through his eyes.

Image by author.

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Your comments

I’ve been to Manchester Apollo twice and I know what you mean. Pavement littered with people selling unofficial merchandise. But I have to confess, I’ve dabbled in a few bootlegs…

#1. By Andrew Wooding on February 21, 2011

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