During Holy week we find Jesus flipping the tables in the temple. Oh we love this passage … here is our God, our Savior, our meek and loving Jesus fully ticked off. Oh hooray! A Jesus we can relate to. We who are seldom meek, and we who are weary of trying to be loving, can wrap our hands around this apparently rage-filled Jesus and say “Yes, brother! Yes! Let’s flip those tables!”
But first we have to look at who owns the table. When Jesus enters the temple courts He encounters money changers and sellers of animals for sacrifices. He encounters Jewish establishment. These are not “outsiders”, not Baal worshipers, or Roman government groupies. This is not a one-day scandal that has just appeared. Jesus is encountering the long established corruption of insiders. Insiders who were profiting on the vulnerability of foreigners. Insiders who were exploiting the poor. Insiders whose tables were keeping others from being able to draw near to God (through creating barriers to sacrifices).
This Holy Week it is good for us to remember the rage-filled Jesus, and the target of that rage. It is us. The insiders.
The barrier builders.
The tables we need to flip to honor our Savior this week, are the tables in our own hearts. The figurative tables that we have set up through false teachings that allow us to believe our sins are less terrible than others, that mixes earthly politics and heavenly power, that turns a blind eye to the exploited, foreigner, and poor.
Well that is a lot less sexy and less comfortable application of this verse, right? Give me my rage, and let me aim it at my ungrateful kids, the facebook post that offended me, the guy who cut me off in traffic. Leave me with my rage aimed outward.
But this is not our Savior, or the faith He calls us to live. He called us to die to self, to love, to sacrifice as He showed us. We can not remember Jesus in the Temple outside of the context of Jesus on the cross.
May we flip the table in our heart that keeps us from welcoming into our church, the homosexual, the transgender, the couple who chose abortion. May we firmly reject anything in ourselves that creates a barrier to keep any of God’s children from drawing near to Him in a faith community. There is no sin that separates any soul from God when it rests in Jesus.
May we flip the table in our heart that has been set up as an altar to our country. An altar that worships an earthly nation with a passion and loyalty that should only be given to God. An altar that excuses violence, and rudeness in defense of a nation. May we clear the courtyard of our heart to make room for worshipping the only one worthy of worship – Jesus.
This Holy Week may we flip the tables of oppression that we have allowed ourselves to set up in our hearts. The tables that allow us to look the other way to mistreatment of foreigners, and place blame on the poor for their station. May we flip the tables and open our hearts to the ministry of love Christ calls us to join Him in. May we remember the last will be first, and we are called to bring to earth as it is in Heaven.
With the figurative tables of our heart flipped, the courtyard of our minds cleared may we fully experience, and share, the love of Jesus.