Third Sunday of Lent

& archive, Year B.

Prayer before reading:

Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you,
And to bear the cost
Of giving up our false self.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear you,
To follow you in all of life,
To Jerusalem and
resurrection.
Amen

Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.

Season of Lent: Week Three

On our Lenten pilgrimage are led into the gospel narrative in John 2:13-22. We find ourselves following Jesus into the temple in Jerusalem. The feast of the Passover is near and a host of persons crowd into the temple courts — pilgrims from all over the world standing in line, waiting to pay the temple tax. Jews and converts to Jewish faith were required to pay one half-sheckel around the time of the Passover. Jesus notes how the money changers charge a fee for this service, up to two-thirds of a working man’s wage, and knows that worshippers from a distance could especially be exploited.

Driven by compassion for the poor who come for prayer and worship, and filled with love for the world seeking God and remembering God’s great act of freeing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, Jesus moves with holy anger against those who place a stumbling block in their way. He wades into the rows of tables and begins driving out those who are selling doves. He picks up the containers of the moneychangers, and pours the coins out on the ground, then overturns their tables, and says:

“Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s
House a marketplace!”

In this moving act of advocacy Jesus reclaims the space for pilgrims who come to worship God, and directs our attention to who we are and in whose presence we gather as we come: the God who rescues us from slavery; the Freedom Maker who welcomes us, and who shepherds our souls and our lives in ways that are life-giving and good.

Some of the Jews standing nearby ask Jesus for a sign, to validate what he has just done, and Jesus answers them by saying: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” In all of his life and ministry Jesus is aware of the present moment, and also of God’s greater design—death on the cross and resurrection: God’s sign of triumph over all that is death-dealing in our world; God’s greater work of freeing all the world from slavery to the layers of sin and death this side of Eden. This is the sign that validates his restoration of the temple court for worship and prayer.

Our Lenten journey takes us into such places, but also helps us to remember Who maps the pilgrimage, and what God is up to in our own lives, and in the world around us: rescue and freedom. Such is the intent of this Lenten journey – to guide us more fully into the great freedom of God’s gracious rule and ways.

Prayer before reading:

Lord Jesus Christ,
You come to us.
Help me to see as you see,
To recognize your presence
In the desert of Lent,
And to learn God’s way.

Amen

Season of Lent: Week Three

  • 3/5 Monday: John 2:13-17
  • 3/6 Tuesday: John 2:18-22
  • 3/7 Wednesday: Psalm 19
  • 3/8 Thursday: Exodus 20:1-17
  • 3/9 Friday: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
  • 3/10 Saturday: John 2:13-17
  • 3/11 Sunday: John 2:18-22