They don't seem to be celebrated
with the same sentiment today
as I imagine in times long ago.
But I sure do like the idea
of having a dear old family tradition.
I was not raised in a home
where we held true to many, but
I so admire those who have kept them.
Even as we near the holiday season,
it makes me long for something nostalgic,
some tried and true tradition
that others would cling to as well
and celebrate with me,
remembering how it used to be.
Because that's what makes
a tradition special.
The honor of it.
The respect and quiet solitude
you show toward whatever actions
others began with intention
that made it sacred, that kept it true.
That's what always comes to mind
when I read this account of Jesus
turning over the tables of the merchants
who set up theirs booths in the temple.
At least it's now one of the burdens
I realize behind His actions,
once I understood that to Him,
yes, this was a sacred place, a holy temple...
But this was also an annual event.
Jesus had come to Jerusalem
as did many other travelers
because it was the Passover Festival,
the tradition celebrated annually
by the Israelite people
to remember their heritage...
their Exodus from Egypt,
their freedom from slavery,
the faithfulness of their God.
And it was part of Jesus' family tradition...
Every year Jesus’ parents
went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival.
Luke 2:41 NLT
And it also marked a significant life event
when he was left behind
at the age of twelve, while his family absently
headed back home without him.
His parents were devastated
during the three days of searching.
But when they found Him,
He was safe in the temple,
calmly sitting among a crowd of scholars
discussing higher things.
And He seemingly could not understand
their confusion or despair when
He replied to His parents...
“Why were you looking for Me?
Do you not know that I must be
in My Father’s house?”
Jesus, even as young as twelve,
was simply comfortable, and at home
in the House of God.
He had taken up residence, literally.
I mean, his parents had left him behind.
So He needed a place to stay.
And when these men took Him in,
gave him a place to sleep
and meals to eat,
I imagine they found Him
quite unique and surprising,
at ease, even in His left behind state.
He knew that this was
His Father's house.
You know, like when you go back home
to visit and know you're way around.
Maybe it's not where you live all the time,
but it's still a comfortable place to be.
Often times it holds memories and tradition.
And Jesus simply belonged there,
even though his parents
Nor could these money changers
and merchants who had now set up shop.
Can you imagine?
Jesus comes back into Jerusalem.
Just as He always did...
every year for the Passover festival.
He no longer lives with His parents,
but this is tradition,
this is a very honored celebration
and holy time for the Jewish people.
This is where Jesus remembers
spending time "camping out"
when He was twelve and first felt
really at home in His Father's house.
And Jesus expects to enter the temple
and speak to the same crowd of scholars
whom He sees each year.
He expects to be able to pray in peace
and sense presence of His Father.
Now the Passover
of the Jews was at hand, and
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
And He found in the temple those
who sold oxen and sheep and doves,
and the money changers doing business.
John 2:13-14 NKJV
Animals being sold...
not just for profit, but for sacrifice.
Because it was convenient.
So that people wouldn't have to "bother"
with bringing their own firstborn
from their heard at home all the way
on the long trip to get here.
They could just make a quick stop outside
the temple and buy a sacrifice
then give it to the priest.
Because that's what God wants... right?
Clearly Jesus walks upon a scene
that not only does not fit the tradition
worthy of the Passover Festival,
but it has completely changed the meaning
of the sacrifice that was the basis of
a repentant heart coming unto God.
And He has a reason to be upset.
His expectations are not met.
He has a just anger at their complete
disrespect for this holy place
and this tradition of the Israelite people.
This is His Father's house.
Who would tolerate someone
treating their father's house
with such disrespect and dishonor.
Jesus was a good Son
defending the House of His Father.
Jesus had a righteous anger
protecting the holiness
of a tradition that celebrated
God's deliverance and faithfulness;
Of holding true the meaning of sacrifice
and it's dedicated heart to God.
Are we also willing to stand up
for the holiness of our God?
Are we also in a habit
of showing up to the house of our Father
so often that we would know when
it was no longer honoring Him?
Let us not lose heart.
Let us not allow our flame to flicker
or grow dim.
But rather let us fan the flame
and burn hot for the passion
of God within.
Word of God
train me today...
To honor the glory of Your name.
To stand faithful in defense of Your righteousness.
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