Lenten Devotional: Tuesday, April 15

by Hal Turner
April 15, 2014

The Tuesday before Passover

A moment of civil disobedience.  A moment that mobilizes a movement.  Rosa Parks after a day’s work keeps her seat. Water cannon and savage dogs used on singing marchers. A lone citizen standing up to a tank.   Patriots dumping tea in Boston harbor. Gandhi making salt on a beach. A monk setting himself on fire.  Matthew Shepard beaten and crucified on a fence. Nelson Mandela’s prison cell.  Jesus throwing over the money changers tables in the temples.   These are moments and images that rip us out of complacency and compel into action.

What motivated Jesus?  How long had he been planning this moment?  Or was it a spontaneous reaction?  Jesus’ demonstration compelled the temple priest into action. Jesus was no longer just an interesting oddity, he was a direct threat to the order and finances of the temple. He became a public enemy who had to be silenced or eliminated.  What had once been called the temple offerings, had become the temple tax.  It must be paid in temple coin so we have moneychangers.  Need an animal for an offering, we can sell you one to save you the hassle of raising it yourself.  Of course your offering is our next meal, but we will burn the inedible parts to create a pleasing aroma for God. You need forgiveness – we can sell you that. We have God on our side, he chose us to be his power on earth not you. You annoying wannabe Rabbi coming in here to declare:  “My house shall be a house of prayer for all the nations.” Twisting up scripture, trying to mess up our way of life. Jesus you must die.

While we wouldn’t kill them, if someone came into our building and did the same we would certainly have them arrested or barred.  So what’s up Jesus?  Why are you doing everything you can to ignite a crisis?  Your whole ministry has already communicated your point. God is for everyone not just the select few.  We hear you, earthly authority is fleeting while heavenly authority endures. You didnt have to die to make your case.

Of course, everything that Jesus said and did would have disappeared within a few generations if not for this act of civil disobedience.  He challenged the power structure, and lost.  He was arrested, beaten, humiliated, and hung up naked to die nailed to a wooden cross. In loosing however, he won everything.  His words and actions were cemented in the hearts and minds of ordinary people for an eternity.  Jesus knew somehow, that only this act would make it permanent.  We are the living legacy, from generation to generation that, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all the nations.”

No spoken words for prayer, instead observe intentional silence.