Today brings us to the next step toward the Cross. Yesterday was the celebration of Jesus' entry into the city as the King. Today brings us to the day traditionally thought of as the day Jesus cleansed the temple. For Mark's account of this event please see Mark 11:15-18. Here we find Jesus not real happy with what is happening in the temple courts. The merchandisers are all set up are ready to capitalize on all the people going to make their sacrifice and show their relationship with God. The actions of Jesus can be pretty disturbing until we take a closer look, and then the actions are down right convicting.
In my journey with God I have had all varieties of Christian message t-shirts, trinkets and assorted what I call Jesus junk. If you are a Jesus junk lover and user these thoughts are not offered as a criticism of you, only as an invitation to think and examine. Jesus junk are those things that have quite little slogans about our relationship with God. I shutter to think about the amount of money spent of these items in a given year. I shutter to think about the amount of money I have spent on such things along my journey. This morning as I was praying I got haunted by a thought, what if we didn't need Jesus junk to tell others and ourselves about our relationship with Jesus? What by watching our lives people would see the Love we have for God and experience the grace of Jesus? The Jesus junk t-shirts and sundry items are not bad, but are they the only way people know we have a relationship with Jesus?
Then there is the whole Easter Bunny thing. This weekend I was with my family at a few of our local shopping establishments. There were egg hunts, and all kinds of frenzy about the coming of Easter. I day say the stores were more excited about the coming of Easter than many in our churches. The frenzy was brought to the height when the announcement was made that the Easter Bunny had arrived and all the children should line up and get ready for pictures with the Easter Bunny. I am no fool, at least about this, the reason the stores have events for Easter is not because of their deep love for the amazing work of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. I know it is because they have figured out the greatest act of God is a good opportunity to turn a buck. People come to the stores and visit the strategically placed Easter Bunny, and while getting their pictures taken, there is all kinds of other "essentials" available in eyesight.
The reality is Jesus came into such a situation in the Temple. We read Jesus chasing the merchants out with harsh words, you have made it a den of robbers. I wonder how much Jesus weeps over the fact that places looking to make money celebrate Easter with greater excitement than those who don their Jesus junk and proclaim their relationship with God through t-shirts, bumper stickers and other items. Have we created and merchandised Jesus who is good buddies with the Easter Bunny?
As we move through this most Holy Week, I invite you to explore a few things. First, if you are annoyed with me for ranting about Jesus junk, the Easter Bunny and our relationship to God, ask why. Second, ask God to show you where you have missed it. Seek the voice of God to point our the ways we have made Jesus and the Easter Bunny buddies. Third, determine if you were sitting at one of the tables selling in the temple, or if you were one of the ones amazed by the righteous and holy anger of Jesus.
Finally, all of us need to take time to remember the journey of Holy Week is the foundation of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Ask yourself what kind of cleansing is need in your life today that you might experience more of what God wants for you. Then do not get another article of Jesus junk, simply and with great devotion live the calling of Jesus in your life.