Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Preparing for Sunday, March 22nd

We remain a week behind the lectionary readings and will remain so until Palm Sunday. So today finds us with John’s version of Jesus in the temple. Unlike Matthew, Mark, and Luke, who indicate this event occurred on Palm Sunday, John tells the story near the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Whether it was two events or one event told two ways is not nearly as important or challenging as what the event has to say about Jesus, about institutional religion, and about us.

13The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” 19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
23When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. 24But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone. John 2:13-25

In this passage, Jesus is anything but meek and mild!
• How comfortable are you with the image of an angry Jesus?
• This is story is told in all four gospels—everyone thinks it is important for us to know! What can we learn about Jesus from this story that we might not know otherwise?
• What is Jesus angry about? And would Jesus be just as angry if he walked into our church today?
• Are there any groups or people who you would love to come face to face with the angry Jesus?
• How would you feel about facing this angry Jesus? What in your life would he want to turn over?

Keep everyone who is traveling over spring break in your prayers! (Wish I were one of them-although I do get a trip to Sumatanga next week to interview candidates for provisional and ordained ministry!)

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