Reference: Matthew 21:12-17, 23-46 (I’m using this Gospel since [to me] it’s easy to work with for this post).
This post is a “two fer” since I’m writing it as Monday segues into Tuesday during Holy (Passion) Week. You can read the following in the above Scripture text and in the other Synoptic Gospels.
After Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we see him going into the temple where he finds merchants selling animals (namely pigeons) for sacrifice. Jesus immediately trashes the place and quotes the ancient Scriptures:
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers. (Citing Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11 ESV)
Then Jesus immediately healed the blind and the lame that came to him. In one swift move, Jesus turned the temple from man’s marketplace back into a place of Divine healing. Mind you, the crowds outside were still crying, “Hosanna!” at the same time; which ruffled the feathers of the chief priests and scribes.
The next morning, Jesus returned to the temple and taught the people in parables, which included the Parable of the Two Sons and The Parable of the Tenants. This teaching gives the people and insight (and a warning) about who will comprise the Kingdom/Queendom of God. Despite the chief priests and elders’ questioning his authority, Jesus puts them in check and continues to teach. Here Jesus opens the temple to all who desire to hear him, and uses the temple as a place to speak truth to power.
Putting it bluntly, Jesus got down to business.
Coming to today, are any of us willing to get down to business? To challenge American Christianity’s obsession with power, wealth, and influence? To turn our Father’s/Mother’s house back into a house of prayer, a place of healing for all people? How many of us are willing open our church doors to the marginalized of our society: GLBTs, addicts, former convicts, the homeless, the jobless, the returned vets, the single parents, and many more? To kill the “country club” attitude of our churches?
How many of us are willing to be teachable by sound doctrine? As the African-American proverb implores, “Each One Teach One” to our fellow humans by opening up our churches for all to come to? To realize that belonging to the “right” crowd doesn’t automatically qualify us for the Kingdom/Queendom of God? To use our temples-our churches-as places to speak Divine truths to sinful power at every level? To risk having our Divinely-placed authority challenged by the Powers That Be?
How many of us are willing to get down to business?
Grace and Peace.