Wednesday, 2 June 2010

the chief priests and scribes had plenty to be upset about !

May 30, 2010

Matthew 21:1-16

Well! The chief priests and scribes did have plenty to be upset about with You, Jesus - at least according to their perspective!

The crowds were praising You as You were about to enter the city! And they were doing it will all the symbolism of a King entering His royal city. There You were, riding on a donkey, the cloaks of Your servants spread on the donkey's back, and on the road before you. And fresh branches spread in the road... (Which was not only upsetting to the Jewish leaders, who enjoyed being the "rulers" ... but also threatened their cozy relationship with the Romans. An upstart Jewish king was a sure way to bring down the wrath of the Roman emperor!)

The crowds were also accepting You as a prophet sent from God - and not only a prophet, but THE prophet, the messianic hope (which was "blasphemous" in the eyes of the Jewish rulers... and their concerns in #1 as well)

And then You have the nerve to drive out all the buyers and sellers from the temple. After all, the buying and selling was a time-honored profession, "necessary" to temple worship, and doubtless a not insignificant source of income for the temple, and those who ruled over it. Not to mention an affront to tradition!!! And then You accused them of turning God's house of prayer into a "robber's den." Which of course they would consider a personal affront, as they viewed themselves as the most righteous, praying folks around. While You were some uneducated country-bumpkin upstart, who apparently thought Your relationship with God was superior to theirs! You seemed to have some foolish idea of praying to God as Your Father - some crazy idea that men could have a close, familial relationship with the Fear of the Israelites! And to accuse them (because they were "in charge" of the temple and its traditions) of being robbers - too, too much!

The blind and the lame came to You in the temple. The blind and the lame didn't belong in the temple. Only people who were "clean" could enter - not people with disfunctional and diseased bodies. And not only did You allow them to follow You in - but You healed them! The temple was not a place for healing! How dare You! (Not to mention that it made You very popular - and the healed folks were following You around and hanging off all Your teachings, and actually believed You were sent by God! And beginning to question their religious leaders, and certainly not showing them the #1 respect they deserved! And it didn't help that You apparently believed that physical and spiritual healing were somehow intertwined - and that You had the unmitigated gall to think that You could heal people's bodies - and, blasphemy of blasphemies - forgive their sins, too! So people were beginning to suspect You were more righteous, had more authority from God, than the scribes and Pharisees and other religious leaders!)

And then the children - who should of course be seen but not heard, and treat adults with extreme deference - especially in them temple!!! The children were shouting praises to You in the temple! And, like the crowds had done in the road outside Jerusalem's gates, referring to You as the "Son of David," the promised messianic kingly deliverer (back to #1 and 2)

And You were definitely NOT the Messiah/ Christ those religious leaders were looking for (if they were looking for one at all, in reality... because it would have been very inconvenient for them!)

Good thing we're never like those self-centered, self-righteous Jewish religious leaders, eh. Right... Oh dear, oh dear... Please forgive us, Jesus. Please forgive me.... (Thank You)

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