The Ninety-Fifth Day of 2023

Gentle Reader,

It’s Holy Week.

Jesus is in Jerusalem today. He’s talking with people, as he does. But he’s having these conversations inside or around the Temple that he made messy on Monday in order to expose the mess in the hearts of some of the people around him. To express the heart of God, too.

Going into the Temple he began to throw out everyone who had set up shop, selling everything and anything. He said, “It’s written in Scripture, ‘My house is a house of prayer; you have turned it into a religious bazaar.'”

– Luke 19:45-46 (MSG)

There’s an edge to Jesus. No, he’s not a conquering tyrant. He’s never going to take out your enemies, real or perceived. Yes, he is gentle and kind. He will always welcome you with open arms. But we must face the fact that he is also confrontational. We have trouble with that word. Confrontation is a bad thing to us, or at least an uncomfortable thing. We don’t want to confront or be confronted. Jesus doesn’t have trouble with that word. In fact, I’d argue that Jesus is the embodiment of that word.

Jesus flips tables and raises his voice. Jesus refuses to answer some questions (which I find truly funny; see Luke 20:1-8). Jesus does not bow to pressure. Jesus says, “I AM” (John 18:6). Jesus is who Jesus is, and we will deal with him on his terms always.

In our often-ridiculous humanness, we don’t want to acknowledge this. We want Jesus on our own terms. Let’s not kid ourselves. Let’s not spend time wondering how the people of Jesus’ day could have possibly missed that he is the fulfillment of every prophecy, the answer to every longing. We make the same mistakes. Try to force Jesus into our own molds.

He never fits.

He doesn’t even try.

He throws the mold to the ground.

He is God.

Dark Friday, Silent Saturday, Easter Sunday lay just ahead of us. Sunrise and sunset and 24-hour cycles inviting us to contemplate the cross, the tomb, the resurrection. We should. We must. We need to.

We should also sit on a stone bench in a crowded ancient city on a Wednesday morning and listen to Jesus. Observe his utterly unique and settled presence. Jesus has nothing to prove. He doesn’t even try. He just keeps looking us in the eye, inviting us to admit the truth.

Are you a mess today?

Do you need to be made a mess today?

What if Jesus the mess-maker comes to you and seems to make it worse?

Flips your tables of hatred, insecurity, nationalism, racism, sexism, greed, jealousy?

What if that’s the only way?

Will you enter into the mess?

Will you follow Jesus through it?


Image Courtesy of Eleonora