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Manage episode 288710563 series 2481992
Holy Week: Monday, Cleansing the Temple
by Matthew Clark & Friends | One Thousand Wordshttps://www.matthewclark.net/mcwordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/OTW_S2-E15-Holy-Week_Monday-Cleansing-the-Temple.mp3
Then Jesus entered the temple courts and began to drive out those who were selling things there, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of robbers!”
Jesus was teaching daily in the temple courts. The chief priests and the experts in the law and the prominent leaders among the people were seeking to assassinate him, but they could not find a way to do it, for all the people hung on his words.
Imagine with me – Cleansing of the Temple
I don’t remember what I said that day back in high school, but I’m ashamed to tell you, it was something cruel. My poor Mom had probably just been practicing some element of basic good parenting but I wasn’t having it. Whatever it was the original conversation was about, I was a blunt instrument ready to smash through anyone who got in the way of what I wanted, and I chose as my bludgeon cutting words of pure meanness. I am thankful I don’t remember them or what that conflict was even about. Here’s what I do remember.
Later that day, I was sitting on my bed in my room when I heard my Father’s characteristic footsteps coming down the hall, but faster than usual. The door flew open and my Dad was transfigured into a consuming fire, he burst into flames. He grew up a Mississippi farmer and at that time was around 60 and stronger than I’ve ever been or will be. His voice boomed and expanded to fill that room with righteous fury and I flailed and cried in astonishment and terror at the glory of his wrath.
Let me be clear; my Dad is in no way an out-of-control individual, nor is he a violent or habitually angry person. This was an outstanding occasion. That day, his Beloved Bride had been treated cruelly and my insults against my Mother had been to him like a flaming arrow shot into a haystack, and he became a Pillar of Fire.
I’ve seen people get angry and explode for all kinds of reasons, most of them selfish. Someone said anger is a good signal that something we care about has been threatened, it shows us what matters to us and urges us to protect things that need protecting. Sometimes we care mostly about our pride or we want to keep some power scheme in place that benefits us, even though it’s not right. Other times, like the one I’m describing with my Dad, the wrath is holy, because wickedness has been done against what God loves and desires to protect. In that way, wrath itself really can be the unveiling of a terrific glory.
How long does it take for an experienced craftsman like Jesus of Nazareth the son of Joseph to make a whip out of cords? I don’t know, honestly. I’ll speculate an hour to obtain the materials and tie them together while thinking about what he was going to do. Jesus had adrenal glands, synapses, muscle, blood, and bone. Sometimes anger makes the body almost vibrate and burn as it gathers, as the barometer spikes. Jesus had time, in other words; when he bursts into the temple this is not an impulsive act, it’s a careful, deliberate thing.
Zealous and Jealous are two words that come from the same root and generally have to do with a husband’s desire to protect the reputation of his wife. When, in the Old Testament, God says he’s a jealous God, it means he’s fighting for his marriage to Israel. It means he cares more about her well-being than she does. When I insulted my Mom, she cried I’m sure, but her response was nothing like the zealous response I witnessed in my Dad.
So, here’s where we are: Yesterday, Jesus entered the Holy City of Jerusalem and today he goes straight to it’s sickened heart, the Temple, and he absolutely wrecks it in his careful, deliberate wrath. Remember today, Jesus is no timid, passive aggressive, apathetic bystander. Understand that the humility that accepts a crown of thorns without raising his voice or moving a pinky finger in self-defense, is the same humility that weaves a whip of wrath ready to defend the ones this King has bound to himself with cords of lovingkindness.
Come to your Temple here with liberation
And overturn these tables of exchange
Restore in me my lost imagination
Begin in me for good, the pure change.
Come as you came, an infant with your mother,
That innocence may cleanse and claim this ground
Come as you came, a boy who sought his father
With questions asked and certain answers found,
Come as you came this day, a man in anger
Unleash the lash that drives a pathway through
Face down for me the fear the shame the danger
Teach me again to whom my love is due.
Break down in me the barricades of death
And tear the veil in two with your last breath.
Song: Matthew Clark – Heart burning brightly
I had a vision so lovely
Of the tender taken in and given hope
But you prey on the people
Till the prayers of my people fill your pockets up
Collecting the toll at the door to my house
You sell off my children, and threaten my spouse
I saw the Lion of Judah leaping up from the steps
And the tables were turning
and the temple was wrecked
Saw the Son of God like a column of fire
He was leading the nations
he was opening the door
With a heart burning brightly
Till it burst into flames
He drew a line in the dust
Where the reign of terror ends
A home for the hopeless
Reminding the broken that they have a prayer
But the time draws near
When the house of God will be the hearts of men
And to you robbers who’ve made
this temple your den
There’ll be no stone left on another
And your roof is caving in
The body for the Lord
The temple of the Spirit
Prayer – Brian Brown
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.