Last Night I once again went on a bit of a rant on Facebook about something that I thought was very much a social injustice this time aimed directly at me! Right now it doesn’t matter just exactly what the issue was just suffice to say that it was institutionalized thuggery and incompetence at it’s finest. This always presses my buttons and I tend to get more than just a bit hot under the collar about these things and I tend to be pretty vocal about it.
In Come the Christians – Predictably my anger is met with a quick chorus of “How dare you talk like that!” and “What kind of “pastor” are you?” and my very favorite of them all “What would Jesus do?” Well lets take a look at just what Jesus would do shall we?
Joh 2:13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up
Joh 2:14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business.
Joh 2:15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.
Joh 2:16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
Lets see what was going on here!
This was much more than just a “religious” issue! This had to do with the law and institutionalized thievery. The Jewish people though under the yoke of Roman oppression operated on a theocratic government for the most part and this based on the Torah. The law REQUIRED all Jews to show up in Jerusalem three times a year, Passover being one of them. The law also required them to provide an animal sacrifice. Most people who traveled a long distance did not bring an animal to sacrifice and would buy one that was acceptable at the temple when they got there.
This is where it gets good! So we have vendors of animals that are considered OK by the government (aka the Pharisees) which they will of course sell you at an inflated price. Anyone who has ever gone to a stadium and paid $7 for a hot dog and $12 for a beer knows how that goes! But wait there is more too it! The vendors of animals would ONLY accept the local coin (temple currency) so they would send you over to the money changers who would take the money from your local area and “exchange” it to money the vendors would accept and at NONE too favorable an exchange rate.
People were literally trapped in a system they could not escape and of course everyone was “just doing their job” This is what so INFURIATED Jesus! Angry to the point of creating a weapon and using it!
Lets talk about that whip! This was not just some little bunch of twine he was whirling about oh no! The Greek word is phragellion.
Neuter of a derivative from the base of G5417; a whip, that is, Roman lash as a public punishment: – scourge.
You might know this better as a “cat-o-nine-tails” a viscous weapon to be sure designed to peel the skin right off of a mans flesh. So here we have the prince of peace – Jesus Christ beating the daylights out of people turning over tables and generally standing up for what is right! Sounds pretty demonstrative to me even GASP violent!
The concept of a meek and mild pastor is actually a pretty new one. If you are reading this in the United States you can thank in part a pastor by the name of John Peter Muhlenburg a Lutheran pastor who on January 21, 1776 in the middle of a sermon declared “Now was the time for war” and went straight away from the pulpit to the battlefield and took as many men as would come with him! Thus was born the black robe regiment who was considered so dangerous by the British that these preachers were to be a primary target when ever encountered. So much for shy and meek preachers!
Perhaps the most famous of Patriot Pastors was the Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg. In January of 1776 after completing a message from the text, Ecclesiastes 3:1,“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” Pastor Muhlenberg stepped down from his pulpit and said, “In the language of the Holy Writ, there is a time for all things. There is a time to preach and a time to fight. And now is the time to fight.” He then removed his clerical robe to reveal the uniform of a Colonial Army officer. That afternoon, he rode off leading 300 men from his congregation to join General George Washington as the Eighth Virginia Cavalry. Pastor Muhlenberg rose to the rank of Major General before the war ended. (1)
I am of this sort – No I will not be meek and mild as some would have me painted. I will not fill the stereotype roll and I hope you won’t either. If we are going to win a war against oppression and tyranny we need men and wom
en who will stand up! People who will speak their minds! Demand excellence and accountability in all walks of life and in all dealings. And if you ask me “what wou
ld Jesus do?” I am going to remind you that going into a fit of rage – turning over tables and beating the daylights out of people with a whip is not out of the question!