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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Holy Week Surprise

   During Holy week, it makes sense to read passages from the Bible that deal with the events that occurred in the last week of Jesus' earthly life.  As well, we can read the reflections that others have written in response to those events.  I was planning to do the latter and involve my family for our devotional time after lunch on Palm Sunday.  As I prepared to open the book of reflections, my husband asked me, "Don't we read the Bible now?"
   At first I took offense.  I was not suggesting we not read the Bible anymore at our meal time devotions.  It was only for this week that I intended to read the reflections of an author I respect and who has good insights into Christ's suffering.  Besides, the place we were reading in the Bible, the book of Nehemiah, had nothing to do with Holy Week.  We could go back to it later, I reasoned.
   However, my husband's gentle prompting to "let the Bible speak" prevailed.  Nehemiah chapter 13 was where the bookmark was.  I began reading and quickly came to the part where a priest who had been put in charge of the temple store rooms was renting a large store room to an opponent of God's people as a kind of storage locker. [1]  Nehemiah was upset that this large room intended to store grain offerings and other items vital in the worship of God was now holding household items belonging to Tobiah, the Ammonite.  What did Nehemiah do?  He "threw all Tobiah's household goods out of the room" (verse 8) and had it purified and returned to its proper use.
   One of the significant events of Holy Week is recorded in the Synoptic gospels, where Jesus enters the temple and overturns the tables of those who have turned the courtyard of the Gentiles, a place of prayer for non-Jews, into a money-making racket.  Nehemiah and Jesus are both part of a tradition that reforms Temple worship and practices.  The words of Psalm 69 apply to both of them in addition to their author David: "Zeal for your house consumes me."
From Wake up Call's Facebook page
   This first surprise of Holy Week was the reminder that the Scriptures have one author, who fits it all together.  The challenge of this surprise is to re-examine my zeal for the things of God and the proper worship of His holiness.  How will I respond when I discover that big name evangelists have made million-dollar empires from the Kingdom of God?


[1] Apparently, having more possessions than can fit in your house is not only a modern phenomenon.

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