Today we see the Pharisees try to catch Jesus off guard in his teaching, to stump him, to make him look less appealing to the people, to discredit him. Instead, Jesus puts the question back to the Pharisees in a manner that they cannot refute essentially silencing them. The people, however, are thrilled and enjoy his teachings.
Do the people grasp the fact that while Jesus is the ancestor of David, Jesus is also David’s Lord? Jesus IS the Messiah. Jesus IS seated at God’s right hand. Jesus is here to save them. And us. David “knew” and we “know” and yet, don’t we still question, “why”?
There is a difference in questioning out of ignorance, from a place longing for knowledge, to grow closer to Christ and questioning for the sake of challenging, hoping for a misstep and to be “right”.
So when we have questions ,are we asking from a place of faith or a place of arrogance? One leads to peace, strength and comfort, the other to jealousy, anger and weakness.
Today’s reading shows us a zealous Lord. We do not see this side of Jesus anywhere else in the Scriptures. He presents himself (in my mind) throughout Scripture as calm, cool and collected. Today, Jesus is furious — expressing his anger publicly to get His point across.
The people have become focused on sacrifice as an obligation. They have lost the point of making the trek to the temple; they have lost their focus on God. In the same way we sometimes get distracted in life and put aside our faith journey we also experience noise, chaos and distractions which keep us from growing closer to Jesus.
Jesus sometimes has to shake things up in a big way to get our attention, to remind us where our hearts need to be focused. It is often uncomfortable , loud, and usually requires a lot of cleanup but in the aftermath we can see the grace, love and beauty in Christ alone without all the distractions. There we are free to experience the gifts of grace, mercy and peace that accompany His love for us all.
Haven’t we all had a teacher who made a subject come alive for us? Their excitement and passion about geometry/chemistry/English literature brought forth a tangible understanding of that subject so that we shared that excitement, engaging and hungering to learn more. Those subjects then became a foundation, rock solid, for additional growth throughout life.
Sometimes, however, even with a phenomenal teacher, extra tutoring is needed. A deep dive into a problem helps us to grasp understanding with both hands so that we own that knowledge.
I think Jesus was that phenomenal teacher to his disciples and still had to make those deep dive discussions so that their comprehension and ownership of the faith was all-encompassing.
The disciples didn’t fully understand all that Jesus taught them. Until they could grasp the faith that Christ taught, and allow it to permeate their heart to it’s core, how could they effectively share that faith? Jesus had to remind the disciples of the gifts they were given, and that they were fully prepared for the journey He was sending them on. Once the disciples fully embraced the truth, then they were ready to share the faith with others—passionately, tangibly, fully alive.
During His last hours on the cross, in pain, struggling to breathe and trusting in God to release Him from His misery, Jesus was still able to provide for those He loved– His disciple John and His mother, giving them to one another to love and care for each other.
When I think of my husband, children, my sister, mother, family, dear friends, it is easy to see how Jesus was still concerned enough to take care of them despite his physical suffering. So many times in my motherhood I have gone above and beyond what I would have done for myself and done for my children– provide for them, care for them, love them–even at their most unlovable and even then I would give them whatever I could to assure their happiness, peace, and safety. It is how I love; I nurture. Jesus did that for us. Even in his last hours, minutes, seconds, He did it for us so that we could find happiness, peace, safety; He loved us, nurtured us and provided for us even at our most unlovable.
How do we respond to Jesus’ gift of eternal provision? Do we ask? Do we seek? Do we try to love like Jesus?
Jesus, help me to love and nurture those around me today, even at their most unlovable.
This idea of renouncing our worldly comforts goes against our consumerist brains in a painful and fearful manner. However, let us look at a few things outside of the realm of “wealth and riches” to get a glimpse of life without a focus on materialistic desires—and let us imagine letting go of our riches so that we may enter heaven.
Don’t we all, at some point, crave the down time of solititude, sitting small and enjoying a gentle breeze in our society of more, bigger, faster ? Lying in a field under a clear blue sky, light breeze, sunshine keeping the chill at bay, dogs wrestling at the the end, music playing softly—much preferred to a loud, crowded, stifling throng of people in a festival atmosphere, right?
Where money can buy convenience, take you wherever you want to go, it is still the simplest things in life that bring the most joy: a walk on the beach as the sun comes up over the ocean, clean sheets pulled from the clothesline on a sunny day, a kind word for no particular reason.
When we cling to the material ideas of the world as our road to happiness and joy, our hands are too full to accept all Jesus has to offer. Letting go of “things” that twist our focus and priorities allows us to experience a deep, content faith, seeking Christ and ultimately a place in heaven.
What are we holding on to that keeps us from receiving true happiness?
Lord, help us to let go of the world’s idea of happiness and joy and let us receive all that you have to offer in eternal happiness.