Friday, April 1, 2011

Responding Rather than Reacting

In the temple courts he (Jesus) found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" John 2:14-16
It was almost time for Passover. Jewish families were expected to travel long distances to Jerusalem and participate in the celebration. Part of the celebration included the sacrifice of animals. And monetary donations had to be made in special coinage. So markets were set up to exchange monies and to sell animals suitable for sacrifice ... and the temple became that place of commerce.
Jesus arrived at the temple, which was intended to be God's home of worship, prayer, sacrifice and hearing His Word. Instead Jesus saw a busy marketplace. Did he see greed? Surely he saw distractions to those with hearts of worship. What else did he see? Jesus became very, very angry - enraged! But he did not immediately begin shouting and running around pushing over tables. He "made a whip out of cords." I've read this passage dozens of times but just noticed this phrase. I wonder ... how long did it take to braid cords into a whip? As he braided, undoubtedly he was thinking. observing and praying to his Father - lining up his heart with his Father's will. His anger did not dissipate. Did he get angrier? Did he calm down a bit? He obviously did not rationalize what he was seeing. He took a few minutes ... or however long it takes to braid a whip ... and then he responded with righteous anger.
I am guilty of reacting, often with regrets. I want to be a responder. I want to be courageous and respond when I see injustice. I want to remember to take a few minutes to think, observe and pray. I want to follow the example of Jesus. God help me!

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