March 23, 2003

John 2:13-22

When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.

Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, "Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father's house into a shopping mall!" That's when his disciples remembered the Scripture, "Zeal for your house consumes me."

But the Jews were upset. They asked, "What credentials can you present to justify this?" Jesus answered, "Tear down this Temple and in three days I'll put it back together."

They were indignant: "It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you're going to rebuild it in three days?" But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.

[The Message]


1. Ah, sweet credentials! What did Jesus have in the way of credentials, what do you have? You probably have more than Jesus.

Either with or without credentials, the proof is in the pudding, as some say. Remember the struggle Frank Lloyd Wright had in trying to build the innovative Johnson Wax building with those improbably thin pillars. All the credentials in the world weren't going to convince the building code protectors that they would work. So they finally built one and loaded it and loaded it beyond anyone's belief.

Read about how upsetting this was to theories of the day in an article entitled, "Wright's Upside-Down Column Tips Over Theories."

2. So what are the "loan sharks" of our day selling? Market share? regime-change/war? no taxation (with or without representation)? What will it take to chase them out of their privileged position? You do know they will speed up your chance to show your resurrection by doing you in, don't you?

3. Apparently even the disciples didn't get this scene as it took them until after Jesus' resurrection to be able to put two and two together in a meaningful way.

I can't help but wonder about the work of Holy Spirit in our day and what we are missing until later, when we will finally put three and three together to mean more than we thought it did.

Keep your eyes and heart open to finally catching on to what was too difficult for us to have learned before this moment. And then celebrate and braid that whip.