Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Today in John 2, Jesus expresses violent anger in the temple. Here’s why. In the temple courts he found merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and foreign currency traders negotiating exchanges. All in support of the normal temple requirements for offerings and sacrifices. Jesus made a whip out of cords and cleared the temple of animals and merchants. He scattered the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. To the dove sellers he said, ‘Get these out of here! You have turned my Father’s house into a market!’”
Jesus, the hospitable winemaker of Cana, has inexplicably become an angry whip-maker.
I prefer the winemaker Jesus to the whip-maker. Those who bring wine to a party are my kind of people. Those who get angry in public are not my kind of people. Do you too find Jesus’ hostility disturbing? Was it helpful for him to make a whip, dump tables, and tell retailers to get out? Couldn’t he have offered a friendly explanation of what he thought was wrong? Couldn’t he have discussed the problem over a glass of wine?
In response to the scene Jesus made in the temple, the people reasonably asked, “Show us a sign that you have authority to create this disturbance.” Jesus replied, “If you destroy this temple, I will build it again in three days.” Today, China builds major projects in mere weeks, but the temple in Jerusalem took forty-six years to build. Jesus’ listeners were dumbfounded that he said he could do it in a weekend. They thought he was delusional. Seeing the unclear message, John in his gospel explains, “Jesus wasn’t talking about the Jerusalem temple. He was talking about the temple of his body.” If that’s what Jesus meant, why didn’t he say so?
Let’s pray, putting ourselves into the story.
Lord, we are the retailers and money changers in the temple of our body. We treat it as a market of exchange, filling it with sugars and starches and fats. We fail to give it proper exercise. We poison our minds with modern entertainment, instead of worshipping you in your temple.
We are the people to whom you said, “Destroy this temple and I will raise it in three days.” This is the first of your mysterious sayings. Later, you tell us to eat your body and drink your blood. You say, “Sell everything, give it to the poor and follow me.” You tell us something went wrong the first time we were born, and you tell us to be born again. You tell us to take up our cross and follow you. Will that bring us to an early and unjust death like yours?
Jesus, we are good Christrians. We have developed comfortable explanations for your hard sayings, explanations that permit us to sell animals and exchange money in the courts of your temple, explanations which support our moderate religious experience, free of zeal and passion. We find your anger and zeal disturbing. Forgive us Lord, draw us into your life, help us to be angry at things that anger you, help us join you in confronting our sins and the sins of the church.
John chapter two introduces you as a winemaker and the whip-maker. We receive you as both. Help us learn when to share a quiet glass of wine, and when to act in righteous anger.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.