Friday, March 6, 2015

Does Jesus have anger issues?

Image result for john 2 13-22Something I have really been enjoying is preparing an emessage for each Thursday for St. Timothy Lutheran Church. Each week it's about one of Sunday's upcoming lessons. This exercise has helped me to focus my
thoughts regarding the text. This Sunday it is John 2:13-22. 

This is what I shared today regarding the above gospel reading.

John 2:13-22 The Message

13-14 When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.

15-17 Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Fathers house into a shopping mall! Thats when his disciples remembered the Scripture, Zeal for your house consumes me.

18-19 But the Jews were upset. They asked, What credentials can you present to justify this? Jesus answered, Tear down this Temple and in three days Ill put it back together.

20-22 They were indignant: It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and youre going to rebuild it in three days? But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.

Last week we talked about grumpy Jesus in his exchange with Peter. In John's gospel, we see Jesus and he is beyond grumpy, he's downright angry and aggressive. Last week it seemed like he needed an attitude adjustment. At face value, in this week's gospel he may need an intervention or an anger management group.

What makes the issue even graver is that what the money changers and the sellers of animals did was provide a service for the throngs of pilgrims who would come to the temple during Passover. One other thing we need to consider is that the area the gospel refers to as "the temple," was not the worship space as we would think of it. It was in the part of the temple complex, outside the temple in the court of the Gentiles. The Message version of this Sunday's gospel, which is printed above, in many ways gives us a greater understanding of what's going on. However, like every other translation, it refers to the area where the money changers and sellers of animals were as the "temple."

So, what is Jesus really up to? Is Jesus overreacting? Is John's purpose of including this story to emphasize Jesus' humanity? There are lots of questions we should be asking about this passage of scripture. I hope to see you Sunday and that you are full of questions about this gospel text and that you will open yourselves to a different way of looking at this part of John's gospel. You may go home with some answers.

True to form, things are not always as they seem with Jesus. He had bigger issues in mind. Come on Sunday and we'll talk about that. Remember, we can't keep God in a box.

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