Good morning, happy Friday, an many blessings.
Luke, having described Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, now presents carrying out His mission in the temple. (Luke 19:45-48). The gesture of Jesus has socio-political value and prophetic significance, in other words, theological. The great purpose of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem is to enter the temple.
We can feel the growing tension, as Jesus forcefully challenges the way things were done in the holiest place of Judaism. It is so easy to lose sight of the real value of religious actions and rituals, ending up sometimes in shameful compromises.
The gospels often draw a stark contrast between the attitude of the chief priests, the scribes and leaders, and that of the common people. The latter are always seen as more open to God’s presence in Jesus, while the religious leaders are trying to eliminate him. I ask for a simple heart, open to novelty and able to wonder.
We never think of Jesus losing his temper, yet that is what he did when he entered the temple and saw it set up just like a market place. Anger is not a bad thing as some of us might believe; it is what we do with the anger that can cause pain and upset.
The Church, in its communities and through individuals, is called on to continue that mission of counter-witness. This will lead to both support and hostility. This is something we should not at all be surprised at nor something we should try to avoid. Our only concern must be always to speak the truth in love, compassion, and respect. God will take care of the rest. Because, ultimately, truth, love and justice will prevail.
Jesus is an example of the true prophet. He speaks as a messenger of God and is indeed God’s own Son. He stands as a counter-witness to all that is against truth, love and justice and as such inevitably incurs the anger and hostility of those who have power.
We need to have a clear understanding that what Jesus is objecting is the corruption of the sacred. My body and my soul are a temple of the Lord and belong to the Lord. Is this temple of a sacred space, a house of prayer? Or is it given over to the false gods of money and greed?
As you read this text, realize that Jesus is reminding you that he wishes to meet you in your heart room – your ‘house of prayer’. Without realizing it, we frequently clutter up that space with less important interests and Jesus has to try and drive them out. It’s a great gift to communicate with the Lord and to try and co-operate with him in making space for what really matters in our life.
I wonder, can the Christian life ever be without tensions and conflicts? What in the church today needs cleansing?