Monday, March 29, 2010

Events of Holy Week Part 2--Holy Monday

We read in Luke 19:45-46 that Jesus sees merchants at the Temple selling animals for sacrifices for Passover. Jesus, even as He is facing His coming suffering is still concerned primarily with the unjust suffering and oppression of others. We must realize that Jews came from all over the world to Jerusalem for Passover and they were commanded to offer sacrifices. Since many traveled many, many miles, there we thousands who couldn't bring sacrificial animals with them.

Since they had to offer sacrifices, yet had none, many, especially the poor, were at the mercy of oppressive merchants who could charge outrageous amounts of money for sacrificial animals. Few things upset Jesus more than injustice...and His righteous anger against such oppression was kindled. Imagine the scene...Jesus, the meek One, turning over tables, throwing boxes of money. In Mark 11:15-17 we're told he threw the chairs of those selling pigeons...pigeons were the Passover sacrifices of the most impoverished...those who couldn't afford anything "nicer" like a lamb.

Christ came to not merely pay for our sins and bring us eternal life...Christ came to bring freedom to the oppressed...and He came to set us free from our own self-absorption so we too would fight against injustice. During this Holy Week, perhaps even on this Holy Monday...what tables and chairs can you "throw around" and "overturn" on behalf of the oppressed?

The other event that occurred on this Holy Monday is Jesus' cursing of the fig tree that didn't provide the fruit He desired (Matt 21:18-22). He uses it to teach the disciples on the power of prayer.

Do we believe the promises Christ gives us concerning prayer? Do we believe that if we ask in His Name and do not doubt we shall receive what we've asked of Him? And what DO we ask for? What is the CONTENT of our praying? Is it focused on self and all our little dreams for ourselves? Or, do we pray BIG prayers...KINGDOM prayers...that the rule and reign of Jesus and the restoration of the cosmos that He promises would come in power?

U2 has written a song called "Crumbs from Your Table." Its a song about how the poor and oppressed of the world are just looking for some crumbs from the tables of Christ-followers to help them overcome oppression and disease and poverty in their worlds. Christians talk about revival in terms of "signs and wonders" and "miracles" when the greatest sign of Christ is often revealed in the Church taking care of orphans, widows and other disenfranchised people. It fits will with Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers in the Temple...and it certainly gives us something to pray for on this Holy Monday.

Here are the lyrics:
From the brightest star
Comes the blackest hole
You had so much to offer
Why did you offer your soul?
I was there for you baby
When you needed my help
Would you deny for others
What you demand for yourself?

Cool down mama, cool off
Cool down mama, cool off

You speak of signs and wonders
I need something other
I would believe if I was able
But I'm waiting on the crumbs from your table

You were pretty as a picture
It was all there to see
Then your face caught up with your psychology
With a mouth full of teeth
You ate all your friends
And you broke every heart thinking every heart mends

You speak of signs and wonders
But I need something other
I would believe if I was able
But I'm waiting on the crumbs from your table

Where you live should not decide
Whether you live or whether you die
Three to a bed
Sister Ann, she said
Dignity passes by

And you speak of signs and wonders
But I need something other
I would believe if I was able
I'm waiting on the crumbs from your table

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