A few years ago there was, I think an advert, going around saying,
Gentle Jesus, as if…
and citing this reading:
Jesus in the Temple
13Not long before the Jewish festival of Passover, Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14There he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves in the temple. He also saw moneychangers sitting at their tables. 15So he took some rope and made a whip. Then he chased everyone out of the temple, together with their sheep and cattle. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and scattered their coins.16Jesus said to the people who had been selling doves, “Get those doves out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace.”
17The disciples then remembered that the Scriptures say, “My love for your house burns in me like a fire.”
18The Jewish leaders asked Jesus, “What miracle will you work to show us why you have done this?” 19“Destroy this temple,” Jesus answered, “and in three days I will build it again!”
20The leaders replied, “It took forty-six years to build this temple. What makes you think you can rebuild it in three days?”
21But Jesus was talking about his body as a temple. 22And when he was raised from death, his disciples remembered what he had told them. Then they believed the Scriptures and the words of Jesus.
Now Jesus is doing something, now he’s showing them who’s boss… Bring on the revolution!
I love this picture for the mayhem it shows as tables are turned over. What mayhem Jesus can bring when he starts his work!
“They” had assumed that when the Messiah came, he would make the Temple even more glorious (Tom Wright p 59), but what Jesus starts by doing is cleansing it – getting rid of what had no place there. God’s new work was about far more than the Temple building.
God is doing his new thing. Jesus is over-turning the abuses, the short-changing and the profiteering that is going on in the place that is meant to be holy – God’s house. He is angry that these things are happening and throws them out. Bravo for Jesus.
But as we stand by and cheer, I am brought up short. I am left to think on what tables are there that need turning over in my life? What is there in me that is turning God’s holy space into no more than a market place? What is being short-changed in me?
God has come to do a new thing is the recurring theme of Tom Wright’s book, it is the recurring theme of Jesus life – is it the recurring theme of my life?
Thank you Lord
that you come to do a new thing,
that you come to turn over tables,
that you come to throw out injustice,
Begin it in me,