Drive Thru. . .
Week of May 9, 2010
I am looking at my favorite picture of Jesus. It is a drawing actually. You realize of course there were no camera phones, Polaroids, or digital devices back in the first century. So the picture I am looking at hangs right in the center of my wall above my bookcase. It is surrounded by various diplomas and certificates with my name on them certifying something I have achieved. The reason the drawing is there is to help keep things in perspective for me because the picture is a picture of Jesus laughing. Head back, mouth wide open, in a full on belly laugh. It makes me smile every time I think about it. When I get to full of myself I glance at it and it gently reminds me that Jesus loves me more than anything else and I shouldn’t take myself so seriously. The display is anchored by two photos of my children being baptized and I think that brings Jesus real joy! Yes, that picture is not only my favorite but one of my most priceless possessions.
What comes to mind when you think of Jesus? I think for some people it’s the picture of a lamb draped around his shoulders. There of course is the one where He is knocking at the door with no door handle on it. Others have flannel graph flashbacks from Sunday School.
But there is a very different picture in John 2:15 , as a matter of fact it is one that most people don’t usually think of when they think of Jesus. There is fire in His eyes. There is an intensity in His face. I have heard people call this episode the temple tantrum. Jesus turns over tables and drives out the money changers. But here is what I love most about this passage. “Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the temple.”
I can almost hear the theme song from Indiana Jones!
As of late I have been reminded in some very vivid ways that not only is Jesus the lamb of God. But He is also the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. And the lion roars in John 2.
Maybe our images of Christ are too tame? Maybe our caricatures are too civilized? Remember the line in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. “Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn’t safe. But He’s good.”
Always remember the people who crucified Jesus did not do so because he was a bore. If He had been boring He is not threat, He creates no excitement, He has no following. Jesus was far to dynamic to be safe! They knew they could not contain Him…but they had to try, they were desperate, there was no other alternative…or so they thought!
That was then but what about now? As we have shoved and hidden Him behind stained glass we have tried to muzzle Him and surround Him with an atmosphere of boredom that promotes apathy about following Him. We have attempted to declaw the lion of Judah and make Him a housecat for pale pompous preachers, two faced televangelists and pious old ladies.
Jesus has to be unleashed and untamed. The call of Christ is a call that is always moving forward and I believe that Scripture teaches it something that must become our entire existence. I think Jesus was competitive. I don’t know if he played pee-wee football or t-ball, but I think he was the quintessential competitor. I see that competitive streak in this story. He is competing for the Temple. The moneychangers have degraded the sacredness of the Temple. Jesus makes a whip so he can condense the nonsense.
I think God wants to sanctify our competitive streaks. He doesn’t want to crucify them. He wants to intensify them and redirect them. He doesn’t get to excited over which football, basketball, or baseball team wins a championship. And I think sometimes we allow that to get of whack in our lives and it becomes something ungodly. But when it comes to the things of God, when it is about the call of Christ, I honestly believe that we’ll be accountable to God some day for how hard we competed for the kingdom! And I think He has called from the heavens and across our hearts with the battle cry, “GAME ON!”
Do we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength?
Are we willing to pay the price? The last time I checked, the reward in the parable of the talents wasn’t an early retirement or extended vacation. The reward for good work was more work!
Creativity takes so much more effort than predictability. It is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Excellence is hard work. Sermons are hard word. Scripting, shooting, and editing videos are hard work. Preparing a lesson, leading an event, participating in a ministry moment…Are we willing to pay the price?
I love Matthew 11:12. Something about it riles me up inside! “From the time of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.”
This is not for the faint of heart. But God has not given us a spirit of timidity! It takes tremendous courage. It takes initiative. It takes determination. It takes tenacity. Maybe those are the adjectives that ought to describe Christ Followers.
Are those the words people use to describe you?
I pray so…Game On!!!!
Add your thoughts to these thoughts.
e-mail Jeff at email@example.com