Editorial note: I’m working on correcting spacing issues. Thank you for your patience in the meantime.
(Click above link for the Scripture texts upon which this sermon is based)
Close your eyes for a moment, and try to picture Jesus in your minds eye.
What do you see? What do you envision Jesus to be doing?
Is it Jesus with a whip…?
Well, after just reading this story, maybe
But any other day, I’m willing to bet some Royals tickets that its not…
That’s not an image we see everyday: Jesus with a whip of cords.
There have been many many portraits of Jesus painted,
Perhaps the most famous subject of fine art in human history.
Some of them adorn the walls of our Nelson-Atkins museum
Some of them are on the walls of our homes
portraying Jesus in all sorts of situations:
Jesus in the tender arms of his mother, Mary
Jesus with the children gathered around
Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane
A gentle, peaceful, wise, beaconing Jesus. An inviting Jesus.
But Jesus with a whip? Not a popular pose. Not in today’s religious imagination.
But here he is, this Jesus, at the Temple in Jerusalem during Passover,
Raising a whip of chords and causing chaos
During the holiest of religious festivals…
What a mess it must have been, after the scene described in today’s text.