Christianity 201

April 4, 2018

Disrupting the Disruption

John 2 (The Passion Translation)

12 After this, Jesus, his mother and brothers and his disciples went to Capernaum and stayed there for a few days. 13 But the time was close for the Jewish Passover to begin, so Jesus walked to Jerusalem.  14 As he went into the temple courtyard, he noticed it was filled with merchants selling oxen, lambs, and doves for exorbitant prices, while others were overcharging as they exchanged currency behind their counters. 15 So Jesus found some rope and made it into a whip. Then he drove out every one of them and their animals from the courtyard of the temple, and he kicked over their tables filled with money, scattering it everywhere! 16 And he shouted at the merchants, “Get these things out of here! Don’t you dare make my Father’s house into a center for merchandise!” 17 That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture: “I am consumed with a fiery passion to keep your house pure!”

18 But the Jewish religious leaders challenged Jesus, “What authorization do you have to do this sort of thing? If God gave you this kind of authority, what supernatural sign will you show us to prove it?”

19 Jesus answered, “After you’ve destroyed this temple,  I will raise it up again in three days.”

20 Then the Jewish leaders sneered, “This temple took forty-six years to build, and you mean to tell us that you will raise it up in three days?” 21 But they didn’t understand that Jesus was speaking of the “temple” of his body.  22 But the disciples remembered his prophecy after Jesus rose from the dead, and believed both the Scripture and what Jesus had said.

Today we’re again back with Jon Swanson at the website 300 Words a Day. Click the title to read at source, and also check out the link at the end to another post on the same scripture passage.

Three days later

One day at the temple, during the celebration of Passover, Jesus disrupted the disruption. In the space of the temple where gentiles could visit and worship, people were selling animals and exchanging money. It was work that had a right to be done, but it was disrupting the purpose of that space.

God had said, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations.” Jesus looked at what was happening and said, “That’s what my Father said this was supposed to be, but you are making it a den of thieves.”

And he turned the tables over. And he grabbed what he could and whipped at the people.

And he stopped for a moment when his work was done, when the disruption was fully disrupted. And some people approached him, with a mixture of hesitation, like you show to an angry person, and of anger of their own.

Like a teacher who calls you Mr: “Mr. Swanson. What do you have to say for yourself?”

They asked Jesus, “What gave you the right to do this?”

Jesus says, “Destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days.” I think they laughed. What else are you going to do?

Everyone walked away shaking their heads.

The people in the temple. AND the disciples.

The people in the temple resolved to keep their eyes on this passionately irrational young man. He went on the watch list. The temple security kept a picture of him.

But it’s worth noting that the people who knew him best didn’t know what he was doing or why he was doing it.

The people who had followed him to Jerusalem from Galilee resolving to stick close. They didn’t know why he was up to all this, but he had known their names back home. He had turned water into wine. He had come to Jerusalem and acted on behalf of the underdogs.

They wanted a part of whatever this was. But they didn’t understand. Yet.

Why do I say that?

Because of the way John writes this. “When he was raised from the dead, the disciples remembered what he had said.”

In the middle of our despair, we want a sign. In the middle of our frustration, we want something that makes sense, that is reasonable.

If we are going to trust him, we think we need to know why we should.

And Jesus looks at us quietly, gently, without judgment, and says, “Because they destroyed this temple,” and he holds out his hands, “And it was raised in three days.”

And the hands that knew excruciating pain reach out to hold ours. And the voice that was ignored still speaks.


► Related article by Jon Swanson based on a parallel passage in Mark 11.

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