Weeping, whips and damnation.
Now, the scholars have some difficulty with the timing here. Some say that Jesus purged the temple earlier in his ministry, and others say that he did it after the triumphal entry (on the Friday before the passover week started). This text does not tell of him weaving a scourge — but other gospels do. I will leave the reconciliation of all this to the theologians.
What interests me today is that Jesus was weeping over Jerusalem, then — after prophesying, in tears, their destruction, drove the money changers out of the temple.
41As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”
45Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; 46and he said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.”
47Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; 48but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.
We may say that we are not like that. I suggest that you tell your church to shut the bookshop in the foyer, and not to allow any worship bands to promote their CDs. To give coffee away. To not have an offering round. (Yes, my kirk does none of those). We feed 100 most Sundays, and we don’t take up an offering.
But we need to be aware that we are living in a fool’s paradise. We have sponsored single motherhood while forgetting that living alone, pretending that we are independent and strong, is a delusion of the wealthy. We may not have the luxury of thinking this much longer. Anyone who can do simple arithmetic can see that the debt that the main economies have taken on — the US, Japan, the EU — is far, far too high.
If you want to be social democratic and feminist you better be rich, because those are very stupid policies. They lead to society destruction. At present, the nations that are sustaining this are the old Dominions — Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, because they (a) could not really do quantative easing (their currencies are not reserve currencies) (b) they produce commodities — timber, coal, iron, uranium, gold, wool, meat, milk and (c) they have had functionally conservative governments restrict the growth of the state.
But let us look at Christ. He is prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem. In tears.
And his zealousness for the house of God means that he is purging the temple.
We should do likewise.