Acting Out the Inner Prophet

Jesus was an enigma to his contemporaries. No one figured him out. Even today, people have a tough time figuring him out.

Sometimes he was a teacher in the Wisdom tradition. Many of the sayings he taught came straight from the book of Proverbs. Sometimes he gave sayings with a twist–as in adding “mind” to the Shema, and then adding the second commandment “like the first” to love your neighbor.

But he didn’t look like a Wisdom teacher when he acted out his inner Old Testament prophet. As in his last week. He cursed the fig tree that was barren. Like the prophets of earlier time, this was a prophetic act of pointing out the barrenness of religious life under the leaders of the day. And the symbolic act of driving out the money changers and merchants from the Temple.

Sometimes a person just has to be strong. Send a message. He was thoroughly disgusted with the state of religion in his day.

We can learn from this. Even today, we have religious leaders who are exposed as shallow chasers of power and wealth. Who bow to prevailing political winds rather than living out the Gospel of Jesus.

Worth pondering as we approach Easter. What do we place above having an intimate, passionate relationship with our God?

I will be taking a few days to hike in the hills of southern Ohio. There is no Internet at the lodge. They say mobile phones work only intermittently. I’ll take a Sabbath for reflection, if you will, before the Easter celebration.

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