Lifeline Clears House for True Worship

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Gathering

Feelings are neither right or wrong, it’s how we express them that can make for a win or lose situation. Righteous anger is our moral response to the mistreatment of others; unrighteous anger is our defensive and self-serving response when our ego has been attacked.  For openers, choose (1) or (2) to share with the group:

  1. A time when you experienced or expressed righteous anger—on either the giving or receiving end.
  2. A time when you experienced or expressed unrighteous (self-serving) anger—on either the giving or receiving end.

Backstory

This event perfectly fits Mark’s portrayal of Jesus as a man of action, few words. Jesus surveils the temple the night before (11:11) and likens Israel to a fig tree’s failure to bear fruit (11:12-14,20-21). The next day Jesus drives home his point by driving people out of the temple. This temple was the third of its kind; this one completed by Herod the Great in 20 B.C. Spanning 30 acres, Herod’s temple contained four concentric courts ringed by massive walls. Therein, Jesus opposed profiteering over animal sacrifices in the temple courtyard, the only place Gentiles (outsiders) could worship. Animal sacrifices had to approved by temple inspectors and bought from certified vendors. But this money-changing provision was not the problem per se, but rather vendors gouging the people with price hikes, even 20 times what it cost to buy a dove outside the temple.

 

God’s Story

Have one person read Mark 11:14-19. Imagine the loud, crazy scene as the story is read. 

 

Finding My Story in God’s Story

To the extent this temple-clearing story has a parallel or functional equivalent in your life or current events, where are you in this story?

    1. I’m a Gentile (outsider), wandering halls, looking to hear the teacher of the day.
    2. I’m feeling unprepared, with nothing to offer, so looking for an animal vendor.
    3. I’m stunned and disgusted by riot/mayhem; I don’t like disturbing the peace.
    4. I’m a law & order guy, so I want the cops to restore that, whatever it takes.
    5. Other ________.

 

As Jesus was overthrowing the tables and shouting, how would you have reacted if you had been a vendor? … a worshipper? … a temple gaurd?

    1. I’d fear all the mayhem and call for back-up to restore law and order.
    2. I’d be disturbed, as I came to pray, make a peace offering, hear good teaching.
    3. I’d be attentive; this is quite the dramatic show and tell, so I’m listening now!
    4. I’d be angry over lost profits, too; so, I’d find a way to get rid of this guy.
    5. Other ________. 

 

As an attentive part of the temple crowd, what would you be learning about Jesus?

    1. He’s a man’s man, a tough guy, a rabble-rouser who gets angry for good reasons.
    2. He has his priorities straight: the main thing is the main thing—worshipping God.
    3. With show and tell, he gets his message across, like an Old Testament prophet.
    4. Nothing impartial or passively neutral about Jesus; he sides with the poor.
    5. Other ________.

 

Why do you think Jesus is so angry?

    1. This profiteering over animal sacrifices happened in the temple courtyard, the only place that Gentiles (the outsiders) could worship. 
    2. The money-changing provision in the temple was not the problem per se, but rather vendors charging 20 times what it cost to buy a dove outside the temple.
    3. The vendors did not have proper permits, or the animals were being mistreated.
    4. Jesus would rather the people worship God instead of money.
    5. Other ________.

 

If the Tough Jesus were to clear out or clean up your life today, where would he start?

    1. My thought life–I am prone to wander.
    2. My finances—they are such a mess anyway.
    3. How I treat my family—anger can bring out the worst in me.
    4. My work life—I prioritize profits over people.
    5. My worship life—I want to be entertained and am so easily distracted.
    6. Other ________.

 

What injustices would cause you, like Jesus, to “overturn tables” and speak out? 

    1. The poor are treated unjustly; I’d do all I could to defend their cause.
    2. Outsiders and people of other races are mistreated; I’d be a welcoming host.
    3. Access to goods and services is inequitable; I’d address those inequities.
    4. Authorities must be held accountable for injustice; I’d speak truth to power.
    5. My church caters to consumers, not worship. I’d change that by ____________.
    6. Other ________.

 

Our Story

Who in your life helps you to identify your passion/anger and what to do with it? And how do they do manage to do that? (Mandate? Magic wand? Modeling? Misdirection?)

  1. My friend ________.
  2. My spouse ________.
  3. My pastor ________.
  4. Sadly, I am accountable to no one.
  5. Other

 

Where and how is God calling you to get involved and speak out today? 

  1. To reach people for Christ
  2. To get involved politically 
  3. To find ways to help those in need
  4. To bring change to my church
  5. To clean up my own life
  6. Other ________.

 

Between now and when this group next meets, how can this group pray for and support you in taking up the cause of a Tough Jesus?

 

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