Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Making Peace

Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

There is a difference between making peace and avoiding conflict.
My natural tendency is toward “playing nice” over enduring strife.
The avoidance of conflict, the ignoring of divisive issues; these do not result in peace.
A cold war stand-off is not peace.
Real peacemakers sometimes have to stir up trouble before peace can be reached.
I am not saying the other end of the spectrum is right either, some people are not looking for peace they just want a fight, but consider this:
Even in our own salvation before we have peace with God we have conviction of sin, repentance, and bowing to Lordship at the cross of Christ.

If we were there in the temple that day, when Jesus was flipping over the money-changers tables, would we have thought this behavior suitable for the Son of God?
Jesus is showing us here His passion for all things sacred, he is showing us his justice on behalf of the victims of this world especially victims of religious systems, and he is showing His ability to carry out judgment and penalty for sin.

What did these temple service providers do to so enrage the passion of Jesus?

a)     They took sacred things and treated them as common.
It wasn’t that they were selling animals for the sacrifice, those services were needed, it wasn’t that they were exchanging money, money had to be exchanged, the problem Jesus had with it was that they were doing it inside the temple.
Do we do this?
Our bodies, our words, our treatment of each other, marriage, worship, sacraments – Just asking

b)    They caused the people to despise the temple sacrifice.
They charged a temple tax that was the equivalent of 2 days pay.
The tax had to be paid in “shekels of the sanctuary” because Jewish coins were acceptable to God, foreign coins were not acceptable. The exchange rate was about 1 days pay.
The animals were for sale for temple sacrifices to the Lord.
The animals offered to the Lord are required by law to be without spot or blemish. A fee was charged to have a temple official inspect your animal.
Animals brought from outside the temple were almost always rejected as unfit for the Lord.

The thing set up by God to make closeness to Him possible (substitutionary atonement) is turned into a source of resentment toward God because of the actions of His ministers.
Do we do this?
(You need Jesus AND… fill in pet behavior ,,, to really be saved) Membership, tithing, covenants, legalism, performance based approval – Just asking

c)     They were motivated by profit and not service to God or the people.
Jesus made this point clearly to the disciples as we later learn in Peter’s writing.

1 Peter 5:1-3
To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
Do we do this?
Mansions, private jets, entourages, limos, multi site, special treatment – Just asking

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