Scripture: “So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” – John 2:15
Many times when we think of Christianity, we think of love, mercy, joy, and peace. This scene really sticks out to me because this is one of the only times where we see Jesus not only raise his voice to drive out evil or wrong doing, but his physical actions follow suit.
For years this verse kind of bothered me because I didn’t see Jesus as aggressive or loving. But then I learned about how some people only respond when you bark back. It’s like they connect with you when you yell back. Jesus talks about us loving others as ourselves. So this is not about being violent toward others. This is about communicating with others in a way that gets their attention and connects with them.
Jesus didn’t overturn the tables and drive everyone out of the temple with an intent to hurt anyone. His actions in his life prove time and time again that he is full of love. But just as we love our children, sometimes we need to correct their actions and raise our voices when they are not listening. Sometimes our actions need to get their attention when their actions are not in alignment with God’s will.
In my mind this is all about effective communication. Sometimes people need to be shown, to be led in dramatic fashion through our actions, but never violent or harmful way. When you read the new testament cover to cover and learn of all of Jesus other actions, we learn that he was also aggressive when driving out demons. He wasn’t soft when dealing with evil, but firm and authoritative.
So how do we know when it is appropriate to act in this manner? By default we should walk in love, always. As long as we do that, the how matters a bit less. Walking in love also takes the pressure on us and gives us courage to take action. The trick is to stay in love.
Not all messages are received as delivered, but at least your conscience can be clean and you have done your best to deliver the message in the right way. Some will listen, and some will not. Remember, you alone do not control the fate of everyone who you come across. Everyone has their own journey.
Our job is to walk in love, to plant seeds, to water them, and to help keep the weeds clear. God brings life and causes them to grow. We can lead people to God – we can catch the fish – but He alone can clean them.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your Word this morning. Helps us to be effective communicators in the situations in which you place us. Let our eyes be focused on you so that the words from our lips match the love in our hearts. Fill us with your goodness and mercy. Let your Holy Spirit be at work in our lives for your great glory. We seek you first and pray that your Will be done, on earth as in heaven. Forgive us our sins, seen and unseen. Cleanse us from the inside out. Make us new. Refresh us continually, in Jesus mighty name. Amen.
Photo by donteatthefruit