The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.
I'll tell you what - I'm not sure this is the kind of behavior Mary and Joseph instilled in Jesus as they were teaching how the temple rituals. Can you imagine Jesus at festival in his early life? Holding Mary's hand as they climb the steps? Sitting beside Joseph with the other men as he learns Hebrew and sings the prayers?
I'm sure they raised him a "good Jewish boy," one who follows the rules, knows the law, respects the priests, honors the tradition. What would his mother say of him that day? Jokingly, I can almost hear her say, "Jesus, use your inside voice."
We don't run in church. And we don't talk back to the adults. We are respectful and we most certainly do not make a whip of cords and drive all of the money changers and their animals out of the temple. We do not overthrow their tables!
And what might Jesus say to those instructions - the ones that go along with using our inside voice? Well, I imagine he might turn with the snap of his head and the bitter taste of adrenaline in his mouth say, "Sometimes inside voices aren't good enough."
This is a very different picture of the light of the world, the lamb of God, the word made flesh. This is a different side of the man who saved the wedding from running out of wine. Is this his shadow side? No. I think it what we see when light shines on darkness.
The light of the world is not shining in this scene at a happy, joyful celebration. The light of the world is shining in the dimly lit corners of corruption and deceit. The lamb of God has called a prison break for the animals ready to be purchased for slaughter. The word made flesh stands toe to toe with the money changers, selling forgiveness and righteousness.
Not to get ahead of ourselves but in the next chapter we will hear Jesus saying that humans love darkness instead of the light. Why? Because their deeds are seen in the light.
Why do we love darkness instead of the light? Because when the light of the world walks up the steps of the temple, the shadow side of religion is exposed. And this begs the question, what's in our shadow side?
Where is the injustice in our religious world? Who are the money changers? What or who are the sacrificial animals? Who are the buyers and who are the sellers? Do we dare ask Jesus to shine light in those places? Do we dare look for Jesus' presence in our darkness? If we do, we better be ready for Jesus to forgo his inside voice.
Search this blog for a specific text or story:
I am grateful for