Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hulk Jesus

You remember in the bible when Jesus gets mad and completely wrecks the temple? Man, I love that part.

When I picture Jesus stomping through the temple, flipping tables and throwing stuff; it makes me happy. I mean this was one of the kindest, gentlest men that ever walked the face of the earth. He offered forgiveness to tax collectors, adulterers, and thieves. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead. However, when provoked, He would leave you with a big mess to clean up.

This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible because of the scene that plays out in my head. I see Jesus tossing tables, chucking chairs, kicking pigeons, and smashing baskets. I picture Jesus crushing everything and looking like The Undertaker or Kimbo Slice while He does it. Sometimes I even imagine Him getting so angry He turns into a big, green superhuman. Then I have this awesome mental picture of a long-haired, bearded Hulk Jesus stomping around. He’s demolishing everything and the whole time Underoath is blasting in the background. And I love it.

I think its important to know what provokes Jesus to go on King Kong mode. So, what caused this beastly metamorphosis? Simply put, the temple had become a marketplace used for business and making money. Instead of being a house of prayer, Jesus said it was a “den of thieves.” Basically, the temple was now about something other than God, and He couldn’t stand it.

This isn’t the only time temples or churches have strayed from their purpose. Look at the 15th and 16th century Catholic church. Before Martin Luther went all “fight the man” on them, the Catholic church was absurd. They were charging people to enter cathedrals to see shrines of saints. They said pilgrimages were necessary for salvation, then of course, you had to pay the church to complete one. My personal favorite was the forgiveness of sins through indulgences. Basically, if you wanted to be forgiven of your sins, the church decided an amount of money, and you had to pay them that amount to be forgiven! Good business? Sure. Biblical? Not quit. Once again, God was pushed aside, and “religious men” tainted the church and its purpose.

So, here we are now in the 21st century. We can’t do anything about the way churches in the past were managed, but we can do something about the way they are now and the way they will be in the future. It’s up to us to make sure our churches have their priorities straight. We have to ensure that our churches money, time, and effort go to worthy causes. Is your church using its money to reach those who need help and need the gospel, or is it going to unnecessary furnishings and equipment? Is your church spending time making a difference in the community, or is it only concerned with the property it sits on? Is your church making an effort to “go into all the world” or is it waiting for the world to come to it? Is your church a house of prayer or a den of thieves?

The church will never be perfect. After all, it is operated by humans. But this is the key: if things aren’t right, do something about it. Be the rebel, the revolutionary, the Martin Luther. Sure, the religious people may not like it, but that’s okay. Jesus was a revolutionary and the Pharisees could not stand Him. They even wanted Him dead.

Arnold Bennett once said, “Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” People will always resist change but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It’s a job dirty enough to send Mike Rowe into early retirement but somebody’s got to do it. And you’re on the clock, so get to work.

We also have to remember: the church cannot be changed until we all first change as individuals. We can’t just sit here and blame “the church,” essentially, WE are “the church.” We need to get our priorities straight. We can’t get it right as a group, until we get it right as individuals. One of my favorite quotes is by Gandhi. He said, “We must become the change we wish to see.” Its so much more than just talking about the church changing, its about changing yourself.

If things aren’t right, be a part of the solution, not the problem. Don’t bow to needless traditions, break away from the nonsense. Become the change you want to see. It’s our responsibility and our duty to do so. How would Jesus react if He walked in a 21st century church? Would He be pleased or would He show off his therianthropy skills? How would He react if He walked in your church? Would He go on Hulk mode? Jesus clearly showed us that when the church becomes about something other than God, He gets angry…

"And you won’t like Him when He’s angry."

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