Passion Week Day 2
It’s not like Jesus could see all that would take place over the next few days. There is no doubt he knew he’d die, but it isn’t clear if on Monday, he knew exactly what would take place Friday. Regardless, he wouldn’t change his mind. He was determined. He wasn’t derailed by what lie ahead.
I believe from the moment he entered Jerusalem on that donkey, he knew the week ahead would be like no other. I believe as the people lined the streets with their palm leaves in hand, he understood this would be the week when the Son of Man would give himself up. I believe that as they shouted Maranatha and sang his praise, he knew the reality of their darkened hearts. This was the beginning of the journey on that long and dusty road. No turning back. And yet, things still needed to get done.
The scripture tells us that Jesus went into the temple and began to cast out all those that were buying and selling in the temple. He was turning over the tables of the money changers and the seats of them that sold doves. It was this righteous indignation. Jesus was completely just in his anger, and everything that flowed from his response was perfect. He did exactly what needed to be done.
We are not people that can understand righteous anger because our humanness is flawed. Our egos like to convince us that we can mirror Christ’s example, but we can’t because we are fractured.
Jesus was angry because the temple of God had been reduced to anything but. The temple of God, a designated place of worship and prayer had become a den of thieves. The holiness of the temple, a place specifically called to be set apart, had become nothing more than a building.
I think about this a lot. I think about the blatant disrespect of the temple. There was no regard for the sanctity of this holy place. There was no care for how it was be used or what it represented. There was no respect or concern for the people who longed to be in the house of the Lord. It had become contaminated in every way. It was supposed to look different, but it mirrored a broken and dysfunctional world.
Are we there again? Has the church become a place that runs contrary to the calling and expectations of Jesus Christ? Has the church become a city on a hill that blends in with every other establishment? Sadly, I believe many have.
When we become more concerned about appealing to the people, we’ve lost our way. When we replace the truth of God’s word and tailor sermons with seeker friendly messages, we’ve just partnered with devil. When we hide behind a fear of offending folks and stepping on toes, we’ve dishonored God. He can’t be pleased. When Jesus is marketed as some sort of product, we lack understanding. Jesus isn’t something to be packaged nicely and sold. He’s Jesus, He’s Lord, He’s King not some commodity.
We’ve created these atmospheres that are more about us than God. You know, laser lights, spinning strobe lights and even steam ascending from the stage. That’s not worship. That’s a concert. It becomes a show that arouses emotions and good feels under the disguise of worship…. It’s false worship. When worship becomes more about us, how we feel, what we think or the ambiance that surrounds us, something is terribly wrong. Worship is about God and Him only. If you need those things to help you get into the presence of God, then check yourself, your heart of worship is way off.
But even more importantly, what about us? The Scriptures tell us that our bodies our temples. The temple is us. What would it look like if Jesus came into our homes, our workplace, the circles we live? What are the things he would be turning over and chasing out? I’m sure we know the obvious, those blatant strongholds that derail us from the call to holiness. But I wonder if Jesus would be satisfied with how we use our time, the words that flow from our lips, how well we love one another. Would he be happy with what we watch or listen to, or would he kick those things over? Maybe we need to experience a righteous shakedown from our God. No doubt, he’s trying.
We seemed to have created this 11th commandment. You know, the nice commandment. Jesus is nice. Nice is good. Nice is love and love is what we need. Wrong. No, he wasn’t being nice that day when he entered the temple. He was angry. The temple was offensive to his holiness. If your Jesus is telling you to just, be you, do as you feel, it’s all about you….then you have the wrong Jesus. Jesus is calling us to be a royal priesthood, a holy temple. A peculiar people who follow him and mirror him in every way.
Funny, the timing of the turning over of the tables. It happened just a few days before his crucifixion. He began the purification process of his bride before he even went to the cross. He was calling us even 2000 years ago to purify ourselves. He was calling us to be set apart an look different. He told us, “Be holy, for I am holy.
This is passion week. The most important week in history. Take time to know the Christ that walked this week for you.