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I had to go to the doctor this week. She called me in, I wasn’t ill. Anyway, through the course of our discussions, it was decided that one of my prescriptions should change. So she wrote me a new prescription. I went straight to Taylor Pharmacy and got it filled.
While I was there, I had an amusing experience that left the people shaking their heads and smirking at the American. See, I’m from the south. In the southern part of the States, when we are speaking to more than one person, we tend to call them, y’all. Short for you all. I’ve been here long enough that my language is getting mixed up. For example, many times, I will say Aye, for yes. And I will say, Cheerio for goodbye. I refer to cookies, as biscuits, and will say piece to mean either a biscuit or a small sandwich. Yesterday, my old life merged with my new one. After a great chat with the ladies at the Pharmacy I waved my hat at them and said boldly, Cheerio, Y’all. It came out as naturally as if everyone did it. Perhaps I’ve introduced a whole new vocabulary into the Buckie Dialect. Or, I sound like a bit of an idiot.
Anyway, for some reason I just had to share that story with you. It made me smile. I can’t help but wonder how goofy my accent must sound to folk. But I’m happy to entertain the masses.
If you’re new to Radio Free Buckie, we’re looking at the life of Jesus, as remembered by his friend and follower, John. We’re looking at the gospel of John. Today, we’re looking at the last half of Chapter 2. Now if you don’t know, John is the 4th book in the New Testament. Probably, I should take a week and just explain how the Bible is put together. It will really help you understand it better. Ok, it’s a date. That’s what we’ll do next week. It will be fun. I promise. Ok, back to John.
The part we’re looking at today, starts in verse 13. It begins, The Jewish Feast of the Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
At first, that seems kind of like a throw away statement. Just a change of scene or setting. But there are several things I find interesting.
First, its Passover. That lets us know this happens in the spring. But it also tells us that its a major time of worship for the Jews, and Jesus went to Jerusalem to join the worship. When we look at the gospels, we see that Jesus went to Jerusalem regularly for the Big Jewish Festivals, and the rest of the time, he was at the synagogues every week. Even when he was traveling, he stopped to worship. And here’s the kicker. Jerusalem was 84 miles from Jesus base of operations in Bethsaida. And he had to walk. No bus, not train, no plain, not even a camel tour, he walked. That’s like walking from Elgin to Arbroath. And he did it two or three times a year. That’s how important Jesus thought it was to worship God. Here’s another insight. The Bible says, he went up to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is south of Galilee. Up means that essentially, the trip is uphill. I guess the good news is, it’s downhill going home.
But Jesus considered worshiping God to be something so important, that he would do more than Just go to synagogue on Sunday, he walked to Jerusalem. Contrast that with how many of us, don’t go to Church at all. Yikes. Or we go when it’s convenient.
First, let me talk to those of us who don’t go at all. Do some homework and see why people like Jesus thought is was important. I encourage you to come along and join us on a Sunday. It will be weird at first. It’s not normal to stand up and sing. We just don’t do that, except at concerts or in the shower. And usually, when we’re singing in the shower the only one listening and watching is the dog. But it’s uncomfortable, I know. It’s weird for me going to a new church. Because I don’t know the people, their style, or anything. And I’m a preacher. I’m in church every week. If I didn’t go, it would seem like I’d been kidnapped by aliens. But we know that, and we’ll make things as easy for you as possible. We’ll even explain it as we go.
At many Churches we take the Lord’s Supper every week. Sometimes called the Eucharist or Communion. That’s odd. I get it. And then, there’s the offering. The collection plate is passed around. What do I put in? What if I don’t have anything? First, I don’t know a single church that expects guests to give. If you find yourself in one that does, find a different church.
And all the prayers. That’s too weird for words. Especially when some people pray using language that sounds more like Shakespeare than normal talk. It sounds like God doesn’t speak modern English. And some people pray so long that its hard to concentrate.
Finally, there’s that preaching stuff. The only time we have to listen to something like that is in school or in a political rally. I know. It’s rough. But I get it. And some of us are trying to make our services more understandable to people who don’t go regularly. But if Jesus thought it was worth going. It might be worth it at least to try. Think about it.
Now for those who just go to Church when it’s convenient, Can I bend your ear for a minute? Jesus walked 84 miles one way. Plus he was in Synagogue every week. He set an example for the rest of us. He thought spending time with other people worshiping together was important. I don’t ever read in the Bible, “I don’t need to go to Church, I can worship God anywhere.” You don’t have to convince me. Tell Him. He knows what’s in your mind when you turn over and fluff your pillow, or when you log into your iPad, or whether or not you’re worshiping Him as you hike up Bin Hill.
For my American friends who listen, God knows what’s on your mind as you sit in your deer stand, or in your fishing boat, or as you lay on a beach, or whatever you’re doing rather than going to Church. You don’t owe me an explanation.
I’ve spent far too long on that subject, but I am fascinated by the fact that Jesus went to so much trouble to go to worship, and most of us look for ways to avoid it. Hmm…
Anyway, the bulk of the story is about Jesus going to the temple, seeing that it had been turned into a shopping center and foreign exchange center, and he gets so upset that he goes all Jackie Chan. He makes a whip, runs out all the animals, turns over the money tables and sends the whole place into a tizzy. I would have loved to have seen that.
No body knew who Jesus was yet. He wasn’t famous yet. But he was outraged that people didn’t take the temple, or the worship of God seriously. Wow. It really was important to him.
We don’t have temples today. The new Testament teaches that we are the temples. Our bodies are the new temples of God. God wants to live inside of us.
Now think about how we treat our bodies. All the alcohol we drink, the drugs we swallow, smoke, snort or inject, the way we have sex with anyone who we find attractive. Or the crappy food we consume. Do I treat my body like a place God lives. I’m fat. Seriously overweight. I had heart surgery in June. I’ve had to think a great deal about how well I’m treating my body. What about you? How are you keeping God’s house? Is it a nice place, or does it stink and in dire need of some serious renovation? Just something to think about.
If you’re reading along, did you notice that nobody tried to stop him. It’s not like Jesus is the Incredible hulk, or Iron man. There are armed temple police all over the place. Yet no one says, hey, give it a rest. No one arrests him. I wonder if in their hearts they knew he was doing something right. Something holy.
Afterwards, they asked him what authority he had to do what he did, but they made 0 attempt to stop him.
His answer is quite interesting. And cryptic. It’s one of the things I really like about Jesus. He often ignores direct questions and goes straight for the main point. It’s like he knows sometimes we’re trying to change the subject or cause confusion, or something, and he wants us to get to the main point.
He says, Destroy this temple, and I’ll rebuild it in three days. He’s talking about his body. He’s already telling people that he’s going to rise from the dead, but they don’t understand that. See, the resurrection of Jesus is the main event in Human History. It matters more than world wars, or capitalism or socialism or earthquakes or empires or freedom of speech. If Jesus showed up for breakfast three days after people saw him publicly executed, then we absolutely need to pay attention to him, but if not, then his church is silly. Its nonsense.
Think about that for a minute. Don’t think about churches, or preachers, or what family, friends and workmates think. Just ask yourself a question, What if it’s true? What if Jesus really rose from the dead. What does that mean? Then do your homework. Study for yourself.
There will be other questions later, but lets take one at a time. Why did Jesus make this claim about rising from the dead? And then, Did he actually rise?
Wow, this short story gives us a lot to think about, doesn’t it? I hope you’ll go on and read it and think about it for a while. If you have any questions or thoughts, write to me: email@example.com or use the comments section on the website where we post the radio show. www.radiofreebuckie.com.
I would say that’s about it for now. I hope you have an awesome week. Next week, like I said, we’ll give you some help in understanding why the Bible is put together in the confusing way it seems it’s in. Can’t wait for that, but for now, cheerio y’all. I’m out.