Written by Taylor Mertins, Pastor of Raleigh Court UMC in Roanoke, VA
Jesus was nothing if not zealous.
Jesus sees possibilities where we, too often, see failure.
Jesus believes in those who have quit believing in themselves.
Jesus makes a way where there is no way.
That’s exactly who Jesus is!
And, lest we ever forget, God is at least as nice as Jesus which also means that God is at least as zealous as Jesus. Because Jesus, as Paul reminds us, is the fullness of God revealed.
God is not merely sitting idly by watching the world spin down the toilet – God is showing up in places, flipping the tables of complacent, and is probing us to wonder about the ways things are so that we might move to where things can be.
Taking at step back from Jesus ‘temple tantrum, with the tables overturned and the money-lenders cowering in the corner, it’s not hard to imagine the headline in the next issue of the Jerusalem Times: Jesus – The Disturber of the Peace
There have always been disruptors of the peace, those zealots who shake up the status quo.
And yet, the peace disturbed by Jesus that day, and still disturbs today, was no real peace. The weak and the marginalized were getting abused and forced into economic hardships all while God’s blessing were being construed as something to be purchased or earned.
And then God in Christ shows up to remind us there is no real transformation without disruption. Faithful following is only every possible because of disruption and dislocation – otherwise we are doomed to remain exactly as we are.
And, for some of us, that doesn’t sound too bad. Some of us would do quite well if things remained exactly as they are. But God is in the business of making something from nothing, of taking us from here to over there, of deliverance.
Change, real change, good change, is never painless. It’s why we put crosses in our sanctuaries, an ever present remind of what happened should any of us start asking all of the right questions.
We have a method for dealing with disturbers of the peace.
And yet, it only takes a quick glance at the great stories of history to be reminded that the most important shifts from one thing to another have always come because of disruption.
We can point to the real change makers of the world, those who refused to accept things as they were, but Jesus, whether we like it or not, is the most striking example of disruption, dislocation, and painful challenge to our status quo. Ever since he showed up we’ve never really be able to return to normal because God in Christ is marching on, all while bringing us along for the ride.
“Zeal for your house will consume me,” the psalmist writes and the disciples apply to Jesus. And they were right – The zeal Jesus had for a new day did consume him. So much so that we killed him for it. But even the grave couldn’t stop our disturber of the peace.
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