What’s it going to take?
Not a Pretty Picture
The reaction of our Lord seems out of character to that kind, loving, person who strolls with us through the gardens of life while the dew is still on the roses. We are more familiar with the Jesus illustrated in the great paintings that adorn art galleries. Those portraits depict a man with a calm, serene almost aloof, face. His eyes have a dreamy stare. He is at peace even while chaos breaks around him. He stands with perfect posture or sits with prim straightness.
we prefer to think of Jesus as the meekest, gentlest person who ever lived, he
also had other very human character traits. C. S. Lewis illustrated the
contrasting qualities of Jesus in his character of Aslan the Lion. In the Voyage
of the Dawn Treader, two children, Lucy and Edmund come to a grassy area.
The field covers an area almost as far as the eye can see in greenery, except
for one small white spot. The children cannot determine the nature of the white
spot from a distance so they hike down to its location and discover that it is
a lamb. The white wooly creature is not just any lamb but a lamb that can cook
breakfast and have a conversation with them. The children want to know how to
get to the
Lewis graphically illustrates a great truth of our faith: the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world is also the Lion of Judah. In Christ, we find both the meekness of the lamb and the ferocity of the lion. Jesus could be both the man who welcomes children and the man who swung a very mean whip.
day in the
Jesus displayed the whole span of human emotions from joy and laughter to sorrow, tears, and even anger. His heart wrenched for the sorrow and pain of his people But the question before us today is, what would produce his anger in today’s lesson? What would arouse his indignation into such a fury that would cause him to jeopardize the finances of certain merchants and threaten bodily harm?
The Passover Festival
search for answers to these questions takes us into the history of
could not be used as an excuse. The pious Jew was still obligated to make the
long pilgrimage from whatever distant land he lived. To accommodate these
displaced pilgrimages, the religious leaders would commission local merchants
to sell sacrificial animals in the
Under such conditions, the law of supply and demand created grossly distorted exchange rates and inflated mark ups on the animals. A hefty profit margin was built into each exchange of money and every purchase. While the merchants were divided into rival groups, competition for market share did nothing to reduce prices but only succeeded in increasing tension and hostility.
would not have been the first time Jesus enter the pandemonium of the
Angry at the merchants who used the religious festival for profiteering…
Angry at the pilgrims who were just walking through the motions…
Angry at the priests for turning the temple into a slaughterhouse…
Angry at the carnival atmosphere of the holy day…
Jesus overturned tables. He broke open cages and untied animals. He made a makeshift whip that held more symbolic power than real and he drove the people out of the house of God.
Let me ask you, what makes you angry?
Our anger is most often sparked by a threat to our own self-interests. We strike out in defense or retaliation with bitter hostility. We lose control of our capacity to think clearly and rationally and defend our misguided actions. This type of anger burns like fire destroying everything and everyone it encounters. That’s not the type of anger I am talking about. I am referring to an anger that swells within prompting you to make a thoughtful, disciplined response.
Someone suggested that the town needed a shelter for the homeless. Public meetings were held to debate the pros and cons. Some people would argue that the county already had enough shelters for people. It did not need one more. Another person expressed concern over the possibility of decreased property values. And someone else wondered if the school system could handle the extra students. One woman became angry of the self-pursuits. She sensed them twisting the circumstances to justify their own financial position and to ignore the human need. She was so upset that she built a place for the homeless by herself.
Throughout his ministry, Jesus told parables that
complimented people who showed prompt, decisive, intentional action. Jesus had
little tolerance for procrastinators. The
So I will ask you again, what will it take to get you angry?
A bishop in the
The Bishop believed that the first issue the church must address is a general state of Biblical illiteracy in the church. People just do not know the Biblical story. Secondly, he is concerned about the growing gulf between the "haves" and the "have- nots." The church cannot continue to cater to the “haves” but must develop ministries to supply the “have-nots” with the basic necessities. Programs like FISH and Hospitality House are wonderful first steps but we must become more creative and innovative in our approach to the social conditions that produce hunger and homelessness.
The final area is our society’s hostility to children. We live in a society that is addicted to youthfulness but does not do enough to protect and nurture its children. The postmodern church will grow only if it takes seriously its responsibility to its children, their spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being.
Do you agree with the bishop? How angry does it make you when you hear stories about children who bully and intimidate other classmates? How angry does it make you when you hear about a child abduction? How angry does it make you when you hear about a child that suffers emotional and physical abuse at the hands of a raging parent? Angry enough to volunteer to help out with our WACKy Club next year? Angry enough to help prepare the Sunday school material so that we can teach our children the story of God’s love? Angry enough so that we can continue our ministry to our children and their friends?
When Jesus got angry he acted. He did not stand and complain about the injustice of the situation. He did not lament over God’s seemingly lack of interest or powerlessness. He picked up a set of cords, made a whip and created turmoil, chaos and confusion. He acted.
How long will you sit passively in your pews, bemoaning the plight of children in our country? How long will you wonder why so few people are willing to help? How long will you use the excuse that you have already served your time?
What is it going to take to get you angry enough to do something?
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Crossroads Presbyterian Church
1445 Welch Rd
Walled Lake MI 48390
Office - (248) 624-3821