Passion Week III

Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling, saying to them, “It is written, ‘AND MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER,’ but you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”  And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.  (Luke 19:45-48 NASB)

As Jesus enters Jerusalem, then the Temple, He then begins tossing out the religious commerce.  There’s a lot of speculation as to why, but the quote Jesus uses implies they made prayer difficult.  And as Jesus remained and taught, “the people were hanging on every word He said.”  And it literally says that, using that colloquial phrase.  It is apparently not unique to English.

Jesus takes the time to stop the behavior in the Temple that was actually disruptive to its purpose.  I wonder if others had thought about that.  The reason it probably had not happened before is likely tied to the reason the “chief priests, scribes, and leading men among the people” chose not to “destroy” Him.  They were afraid of the people “hanging on every word He said.”  There’s a lot of things for which that becomes underlying reason they either happen or don’t; popularity.

Jesus enters the Temple and does what others are afraid to do.  In a sense, anyone else would have to “live with the consequences”.  He knew He didn’t have long to live in any case.  On the other hand, Jesus did things regardless of their popularity with the people as well (see John 6 for instance).  He would have done the same had His death not been immanent (see John 2:14-22).  For Jesus, the obedience to His Father superseded popularity, and popularity with anyone.

What would it take for me to not let “living with the consequences” slow down my obedience to my Master?  What would it take for the question, “what would others think” not impede my devotion to my Master?  What would it take for me to be “thoughtless” about anyone but Jesus.  Love is not “rude”, but it does believe all things, including that a Good God will lead me to act in the best interest of all.  Just like I don’t get the plan He has for my life, I don’t get the plan He has for my church, my community, nor my state, nation, or world.  I know He wants to save, but His plan to do so is often baffling.

His enemies “could not find something they might do.”  Such a strange problem.  “For all the people were hanging on every word He said.”  They couldn’t find something to use to destroy Jesus because of the response of the people.  I read that and it baffles me.  How could they not find something?  He taught what they did not, contradicted their emphasis and interpretation of Scripture.  Or did He?  If their motivation was purely political, national in scope, then wouldn’t the attention of the people been confirmation of their need to destroy Him?  But if their motivation was theological, then His teaching would incite them easily.  And yet in both possible motivations, they could find nothing to do.

Clearly the problem with finding something to do is His popularity.  But perhaps what they risked is their own position with the people.  It’s not clear really.  It is theorized that the religious elite (Sadducees) risked their social/political authority unless stability with the Roman government was maintained.  That required peace among the people.  Pharisees weren’t motivated the same way, since they were typically neither rich nor powerful politically.  The groups opposing Jesus are listed as “chief priests” (i.e. religious elite), “scribes” (Pharisees or like them), “leading men among the people” (political leaders?).  For these groups, the motivation to oppose Jesus was probably different, and they had just the “object” in common.

What opposition do we, as His people, face today?  What will I face?  The truth of Jesus as Lord and Master of everything should supersede everything else in my life.  Yet I let all sorts of things impede my devotion.  But I have this enormous hope from this passage.  My Master will drive out those distractions at times.  His desire for me is unimaginably more than mine for Him.  His power to save actually exists, where mine does not.  His intent is for me to be His and His alone, and my intent is often blown hither and yon by the winds of popularity.  Therefore my hope is in Him, and not myself.  I wait eagerly for Him to throw out those doing business where there should be prayer.

That’s my view through the knothole?  What do you learn of our Master through yours?