Third Sunday in Lent: March 11                                      

John 2:13-22

            The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making 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. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

             The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?”

             Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

             The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After 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.

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            In today’s scripture we find the image of an angry Jesus. Of all the images of Jesus we have locked away in our brains, I’ll bet that none of them have him holding a whip and turning over tables. We would rather not think of an angry Jesus.  The priests had made his Father’s house into a marketplace, or as Jesus says in John’s gospel “a den of thieves”. They were taking advantage of the poor.

            We are surrounded every day by gross injustices. Do they not make you angry?  There are many companies and banks that have been created to specifically make money off the poor. People are losing their homes. Does that make you angry? How about child abuse? Selling drugs to children? The list of evils and injustices are almost endless, but then so is the love of Christ.

            As disciples of Jesus Christ, injustice should make us angry. It should make us angry enough to act with compassion to help those who are victimized. Being angry did not remove the moneychangers and sellers from the temple, it was Jesus acting righteously on his anger. Can we not do the same?       

By faith, move us from our feelings, Lord, toward holy action.

Phil Auten

Minister of Visitation

Christian Church in West Virginia

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