My thoughts (Cheryl Stonestreet):
Today’s passage is the first of many where the Jewish leaders started to get to the end of their ropes with Jesus. It’s bad enough that he was out drumming up support from the masses, but to come into the temple and start preaching? That’s going too far! Imagine someone coming into your church and sitting down in the sanctuary, telling everyone things are a whole lot different than what your preacher says they are. Yes, of course, there would be questions. On whose authority does s/he speak?
And this is why Jesus came. Through the ages, God had become misrepresented. Jesus came to right our hearts and minds on this. The Pharisees, the elders, the scribes had all become so firmly set in their roles and procedures that they lost sight of what God is about — love. This unfettered power needed an adjustment. So God sent Jesus. How’s that for an undercover boss story?
It still happens in our churches. Leaders with good intentions for the congregation demand strict adherence to a set of rules and designs that can get out of touch with Jesus’ simple message, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Egos hide behind the church-speak. Obedience or penance becomes the operative idea of the day. Where is the love?
As followers of Christ, we look to his example. When we see something in our church that is out of kilter, we say something. When God’s love is not the message, it is time to question authority and make some adjustments. Although, it’s probably not a good idea to go flipping tables over.
Thought for the day: When I see that God’s message of love is not central in my church, please give me the wisdom and strength to say something. Help me to say what I mean, respectfully. Help me to remember always that God is love.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.