First Things First

Matthew 21: 10, 12-14

         The news on TV tonight showed clips of different “potential presidential candidates” for the election in November 2024.  Their stance on the issues is not as important as the fact that we are already placing our bets on who is running and what their platform will be and how it is affecting their given party.  In contrast, we have been walking with Jesus, an itinerant preacher who has turned his journey toward Jerusalem.  Like us people are wondering if he is the promised Messiah, a great prophet, or a new king.  Will Jerusalem be returned to its former glory and the Romans kicked out?

“10 As he made his entrance into Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken. Unnerved, people were asking, “What’s going on here? Who is this?”

12-14 Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants. He quoted this text:

My house was designated a house of prayer;
You have made it a hangout for thieves.”

“Jesus went straight to the Temple,” not to a public space for a speech and not to government offices to confront the powers of Rome.  He started by clarifying that God’s Temple was a place where people should be able to connect with God, with the Holy.  It would seem reform starts with the heart and integrity.  God is not always a lovey-dovey nice guy just wanting to forgive us.  He cares about some things intensely.

         So if we had an opportunity to lead a reform, where would we start?  Can we take time to think of an issue that would be core to our sense of justice and integrity?  Can we think of issues that are important enough for us to risk the wrath of others?  Identifying prayer as a key characteristic of the Temple, not the youth programs, not the fantastic worship services, and not the women’s meetings and Bible studies was where Jesus started.

         If our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, let us take time right now to tell God about any issues that are heavy on our heart.  May we be brave today to be honest about what is on our hearts?  Blessings.

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