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"From the Pulpit" - March 2, 2024

"From the Pulpit" - reflections on the weekly texts, from Pastor Greg at Living Lord Lutheran Church in Vero Beach, FL


The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 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. 16 He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22 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.  

from our gospel for this Sunday, Lent 3. John 2:13-22


"Take a Chill Pill, Jesus!"

Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the LORD Jesus Christ.


Here we are already in the third Sunday in Lent, and we hear some amazing, very preachable texts for the preacher this day.  Ever since I was a kid, I was somewhat frightened when I heard stories of Jesus getting upset and angry, especially in this particular story.  Making a  whip of cords, Jesus slings it around the outside of the temple, upsetting tables set up for those making change for money (after all, the temple tax had to be paid in Roman coinage), chasing away the animals and livestock, and other business enterprises that had been set up on this day. The Passover was near.  Lots of people were out and about.  It reminds me of the Farmers' Market every Saturday morning in Fort Pierce - people everywhere buying and selling.


Why was Jesus so upset?  How had the temple allowed this marketplace to evolve on its perimeter?  How had the temple gotten to be the center of (non-worship) activity as the Passover approached?  How might our own church, or any church, for that matter, let commerce infiltrate the worship space? Is there a time when it's OK to allow this in the church? What is Jesus talking about when he references building up the temple in three days? All good questions.


Here's another thing.  All four gospel writers include this story in some version, in their gospel accounts. Only John's gospel, however, includes it in the 2nd Chapter of his gospel.  Jesus' ministry had just begun. The other three gospel writers leave this story near the end of their gospel accounts, right before his trial and execution. Why do you think John put this story at the very beginning of his gospel?  What difference might it make to include it early on in his gospel account? Hmmm.  I'll give you my answer tomorrow (Sunday), as I see it.  If you're able, read the first two Chapters of John's gospel, and it may give you some clue.  John is clearly trying to establish the Christology of Jesus himself. He's making the case early on that Jesus was the Messiah.  The Christ.  And that everything that follows in his gospel flows out of this "declaration" if you will.  


So, this brings up some other questions?  Does this image of an angry Jesus square with how you think of him?  Is it OK for Jesus to get angry? Why or why not, in your opinion?  Is there ever a time when anger is an appropriate response to something? Lots of questions.  Anyhow, I'll give you my take on all of this tomorrow. Hope you can join us.  Amen, thanks to be to God.




"When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"



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