I just love this passage. Jesus finally loses his cool with the religious establishment; a serious rant. All of us feel like this at times when confronted by bureaucracy and hypocrisy. We are angry that politicians don’t seem to get to grips with the real issues – the camels. And the Church we wish to respect and serve also seems to get tied up with doctrinal gnats and yet apparently ignores the loneliness, poverty, anxiety and pain in both local and global communities.
But as we may gloat over the condemnation meted out by Jesus, we must examine our own hearts and lives. To what extent are we like the religious types that disgust Jesus? I know that I have often failed to make a stand against injustice at work (to protect my reputation and job), or ignored the please of the needy as I stride off to Church. I am reluctant to share possessions, even though I have more than enough. Perhaps there are injustices at school or at home that you have observed and let pass.
As ever Jesus’ anger is driven by his love as he explains towards the end of the passage
“How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me. And now you’re so desolate, nothing but a ghost town.” (v 37 from The Message translation)
So yes, it is fine to have an outburst against injustice, but be sure it is driven by your love for the victims. So often protest movements create even more tension and suffering and fail to deal with the root causes of the original problem(s). Jesus DID deal with the root cause of all nastiness in the world – our sin – by taking our burdens on himself at The Cross and hence providing the ultimate solution; with love at the core.
Think now of something or someone that makes you angry and ask yourself how you might do a little thing to help bring healing to the situation. Reflect on Paul’s appeal to church in Collosae:-
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3 v 12, 13
Pray for those who are leading the fight against injustice, often putting their lives on the line to protect the innocent.
And thank God for his STEADFAST love.