Because this morning, some random thing Dr. Jeremiah said got me thinking... and connecting it to the shopping mall bombing in Nairobi. Now, that bombing was another thing I was going to post about, the usual insults to the cowards that did it and the "god" that leads them. But I'm not going to do that either, not directly.
The thing that the morning sermon brought to mind was "Christ being angry". I think it came about from the topic of Christ being a willing sacrifice for our sins, instead of the unwilling, ineffective animal sacrifices of the Old Testament. And as I searched my mind, I thought of four places ( and two of those the basic same thing) where Jesus got mad here on earth. And thought about just what hacked Him off.
The most glaring one(s) were the two times that Jesus drove merchants out of the Temple (Luke 19 and John 2). And I don't know that Jesus wasn't more angry at what it symbolized that what it was. You see, the Temple was built to be, as Jesus called it, the House of God. Where God dwelt with man. But as Dr. Jeremiah said, the Jews had taken the Law, something designed to show them that they needed a Messiah, and turned it into a ritual religion, thus breaking the second commandment. But as I learned in the Tao, going from faith to religion is just the first step of a slide through law, tradition, and ritual, until you are left with "the dead husk of faith". And that is what happened here; and it was to the point where the House of God was now just another streetcorner to hawk your wares on.
Do we do that now? I know this is where everyone brings out the "Catholic" stories, but before you do that, consider. Is your spiritual life a set of rituals? Read the Bible once a day, pray every morning, have a Sunday that consists of meet-n-greet, sing, listen, sing, say goodbye till next week, go home? It doesn't take a set mass structure to make a ritual, and it takes more than "changing things up occasionally" to prevent it. I've seen the slogan in many spots, "Be here now". That's what prevents what Jesus got mad at.
Another time he was cheesed was at the religious leaders, when he went on the sermon about "whitewashed tombs", and said, "You'll go around the world to find one acolyte, and in the end make him twice the son of Sheol as yourself". The leaders had already fallen prey to the ritual aspect, but more: they set themselves up to look holy, when all they really desired was the benefits thereof. Another paraphrase of Dr. Jeremiah this morning is, We go to church trying to do something for God, forgetting that we should go there thanking Him that He has done everything FOR US. We need to examine our faith to see if we are truly thankful, if we are trying to "work" our way to heaven, or if we have the "what's in it for me" attitude of the teachers of Jesus' day. And teachers, when you write yet another book for the Christian bookstore shelf, ask yourself if it's something that will help people to find Christ, or just helping you fulfill your three book contract. If it could be done more simply by saying, "Open your Bibles to...", then who is it really helping?
The final place I see Jesus get angry is with Peter, in Matthew 16:
13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed[d] in heaven.”
20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.
21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
The first example I gave, Jesus was mad because faith had been turned into ritual; the second, when faith had been turned into seeking gain; and the third, when the truth of the Gospel was silenced. This is what makes Jesus mad.
And should we be mad, angry, at the idiot terrorists that attacked that valuable military target, a shopping mall, in Nairobi? Look at this passage from Luke 13:
13 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
The point here is this one: Our job here is the single life, the individual soul. Pray for them, knowing that you cannot destroy evil, but you can save a soul, one by one. Concentrate on the soul that can be saved, and IGNORE THE DEMON-GOD OF ISLAM. Jesus never told His followers, "go out and kill any who will not hear. In fact, here's what Jesus says about the "recruiting tactics" of Islam:
51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”[e]
55 But He turned and rebuked them,[f] and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”[g] And they went to another village. (from Luke 9) Jesus ignored the temptation to wrath and moved on. And Jesus is our example. So when these idiots attack, as they will do, being slaves of a demon-god, pray for the people.. and ignore the "message".
Oh, and what did the mother answer her little boy? "God was chillin' one day, and decided to make everything. I don't have my Bible, so I can't tell you what day he made what." I was going to do a great big story on what was made when and why, and float my theories on the "waters above" and where the Garden of Eden is, but y'know what? Mom gave the 4-year-old all the answer he needed at the time. It's all in knowing what is truly important. God making everything, that's important. Islam? It just isn't.