Jesus Did What?
Just in case you have lost all track of times and dates, we are now in Holy Week. It could be easily forgotten, for two reasons – one, Baptists aren’t very good at all the liturgical stuff and so we often jump from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday or Good Friday; and two, all this coronavirus stuff simply takes up all our time as we watch the news, hear from friends, and hope and pray we don’t catch it.
This week I thought it would be helpful to post some reflections about Holy Week to help us get ready for what will be a very strange Easter period. And we start today with the story in Matthew 21 of Jesus, recently arrived in Jerusalem, going to the Temple and “overturning the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those selling doves.” (v12) This is not the “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” that our society and culture have tried to make Him into. This was an angry, violent Jesus.
I wonder how you felt as you read those last six words. Did they offend you? Make you uncomfortable? If they did, ask yourself why. You see, we happily state that Jesus is fully God and fully Man, but then we try to limit what that might mean so as not to offend others’, or our own, sensibilities. And because we view anger as a BAD thing we struggle with this episode in Jesus’ final week.
The truth is, there is BAD anger, and there is GOOD anger. Bad anger comes from our sinfulness, our insecurities, jealousies and greed. Good anger comes from our reaction to things that cheapen or mock God or that put other people in positions where they are oppressed, pushed down and badly treated. Jesus got angry because the money-changers and dove sellers were abusing their faith, or rather the faith of others, tying people into an unjust expression of the sacrificial system; and they were doing it on the premises of the Jerusalem Temple, the very heart of the Jewish faith. “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a ‘den of robbers'(v13). The honour of God’s name, the purpose of the Temple, and the worth of human beings, were being trampled, so Jesus got angry and turned the tables.
What gets you angry? What type of anger is yours, honestly? Why not take some time to read over this passage and reflect on it and ask the Lord to speak into your life. Being forced to stay at home isn’t a reason for anger – the indiscriminate nature of coronavirus is. The suffering of people infected and affected by it is. Jesus shows us it’s ok to get angry as long as we get angry about the right things.
And a final thought – at the end of Holy Week Jesus turned the tables on sin, disease, death and hell when He rose from the grave. That includes this horrible virus. Know that what it is doing makes Him angry; it makes Him weep with those who weep. And because of that, it won’t last forever because nothing can stand up to the righteous anger of the Lord.
God bless, stay well