April 18, 2011

Holy Week-Monday Table Flipping Redux

The parade is over. The crowd has dispersed. What will one day be known as Palm Sunday has come to a close. The evening is setting in, and Jesus stops by the Temple before heading back to Bethany for the evening.

Evidently Jesus did not like what he saw.
And what did Jesus see? He saw tables crowed with temple approved currency. He saw cages full of pre-approved live stoke for sacrifice. He saw table after table filled with must have merchandise for the Passover Pilgrim. He saw lots of space dedicated to shoppers, and merchants but no space for worshipers.

And what did Jesus do with what he saw? After a night to think, and pray about it he decided to removed the source of his displeasure. He arrived at the Temple on Monday with a whip in hand to drive animals out of the temple. He also flipped tables over spending money, and money changers scattering. All the while he quoted scripture at the top of his lungs, 'My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'

I don't know if this event last minutes, hours, or for the day, but I do know the normal operations of the temple were prevented, at least for a time.

Don't Make Him Angry You Would't Like Him When He Was Angry
(Well That May Not Be True, But The Quote Was Irresistible)
So what happened? What made Gentle Jesus meek and mild see red?

Pilgrims were coming to Jerusalem to encounter God, not be gouged. They came to worship, not shop. They came to bring their offerings, make their sacrifices, sing songs and pray prayers. But what the encountered were people out to make a profit. The Pilgrims were told the animals they brought were not pure enough, but they needn't worry the Merchants had just what they needed, at a premium price tag of course.

Likewise the money they carried, money from the countries they lived that was stamped with images of rules or gods from those lands, well that couldn't go in to God's coffers. Thankfully the money changers were there to help take care of that problem, for a fee of course. 

Jesus would have none of it. People wanted to worship God and these hucksters and flim flam men stood in their way. So he helped remove the obstacles of worship. 

This makes me wonder, what obstacles are currently set up that stop people from being able to worship God? Is it knowledge? Do we secretly say you can't really worship God unless you can properly articulate Calvin's TULIP? Is our obstacle emotion? If a person displays to much or to little does that discount their faith? Is our obstacle worship style? If they don't like our favorite music or our favorite bible translation do we doubt their desire to really worship? Is our obstacle dress style? After all everyone knows people in suits don't really worship God its all just a put on, right?

It is sad to say that this list could go on and on. It seems even today there are many tables out there waiting to greet todays religious Pilgrim.So on this Monday of Holy Week lets take time to ask ourselves, what tables does Jesus need to flip in our lives?

***Please note dividing events into individual days during Holy Week is up for interpretation. I am using a time line providing by Bible Gateway.***