March 4th, Sunday Readings.

Turn the other cheek. Pray for you enemies. Forgive 70 times 7 times. Based on so many img_4553of Jesus’ teachings it would be easy to believe that Jesus’ main message was, “Be excellent to each other.”

Sunday’s gospel where Jesus makes a rope out of cords, flips tables, and clears the temple seems, well, out of place with nice guy Jesus. Doesn’t this “Bruce Banner” Jesus hurt his over Hulk1all nice guy image? Yes. Thank God.

Jesus is unpredictable because he didn’t come to teach us how to be nice. Jesus’ mission isn’t to civilize us or to fix our bad behavior. Jesus didn’t come to make us nice, he came to make us live. His actions in the temple aren’t nice, but they are good. Jesus clears the way for the poor and gentile to get closer to the Temple, to get closer to God.

Jesus isn’t just a nice guy, but he also isn’t an angry brute either. If I had done Jesus actions in the temple, I would have done them out of anger or maybe even revenge. I’ve always thought that Jesus was filled with righteous anger, but where does it say Jesus was angry? No, Jesus acts not out of anger, but out of love – love for those who feel like they can’t get close to God.

This story teaches us that Jesus isn’t nice or angry, but he is willing to do anything to clear a path between us and God. Jesus isn’t satisfied with us at a distance.

Name one thing that keeps you at a distance from God. Name it and figure out how you are going to let Jesus remove it this week.

The Good Word for Nov 9th

For the complete Sunday readings click here.

table flipHave you ever been so angry that you wanted to turn over a table? We see this all the time in movies and TV shows. Several people are sitting around a table in a restaurant or an office. One person gets so upset that they stand up and flip over the table – plates and silverware go everywhere, pens and note pads go flying. Pretty dramatic.

In our gospel, Jesus takes it even a step further. He makes a whip out of rope and literally chases the moneychangers out of the temple area. Whenever we see this portrayed in a Jesus movie, it looks like Jesus is pretty upset, just like every other table flipper. But was Jesus really angry?

The disciples use a different word – zeal. Zeal is being greatly enthusiastic about an idea or mission. People who live with zeal are passionate, devoted, eager, intense, and even fanatical.

So what is Jesus so fired up about? Jesus is zealous for his house, for the temple of the Lord. Jesus’ intense response was brought about because people were trying to profit financially off of people’s desire to get close to God.

Roman coins were not allowed into the temple, and so the moneychangers charged exorbitant, criminally high rates to exchange the coins for Jewish currency. Those wishing to sacrifice at the temple Continue reading