Lenten Devotion Day 35

I Said Get Out!

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

In ninth grade, I was chosen to be on the school paper. I still remember being taught the basics of journalism: Dog bites man is not news; Man bites dog is news.

This expression seems very outdated now but the idea still holds true. Man bites dog is news not simply because it is extraordinary but also because it is shocking. News often shocks us. We are appalled to hear the actions of others, actions that go against the norm. Unfortunately, there are times when those actions are not done in one big shocking event but little by little over time. When this happens, society becomes accustom to the abnormal and accepts it as normal. Man biting dog is no longer news.

Just because man biting dog becomes acceptable doesn’t make it right. This is the situation that day Jesus walked into the Temple and had a fit. Everyone else walked in that day and saw business as usual. Jesus walked in and saw an abomination so extreme He displayed true righteous anger.

Remember, there was only one Temple. It was a special place where Jews came to pray and celebrate special sacred observances. Jesus had been circumcised at the Temple. He had His Bar Mitzvah at the Temple. The Temple meant a lot to the Jews and even more to Jesus for many reason. So, what made Him so angry?

People traveled from other regions to come to the Temple. Many of them only had foreign currency with them.  However, the Temple leaders required the Temple tax be paid in Hebrew currency. People had to exchange their foreign money for Hebrew.

Stop and consider it for a moment: The courtyard of the Temple looked like the swap meet! Animals everywhere, people conducting business, moneychangers gouging people. How would you feel if you went to church and there were vendors set up in the Narthex selling their merchandise? Well, Jesus felt the same way! Even though everyone else at the Temple that day thought things were normal.

Only Jesus thought things were wrong. Didn’t matter what everyone else thought. Jesus needed to take a stand and show how wrong all this was. Standing up for what He thought was right cost Jesus His life. When the Temple leaders saw what Jesus did that day, they began plotting to have Jesus put to death. Jesus knew standing up for what was right would cost Him, cost Him big  and He still did it.

This story gives your family the opportunity to discuss doing the right thing. Bullying is a serious problem in our nation today. Not just among kids but also among adults. There are many reasons for this problem but one of the reasons is people are unwilling to speak up. Bullying is wrong, whether in school, playing field, work place, home or anywhere else. We can’t let it become the norm because people refuse to say anything to stop it.

This doesn’t mean you or a family member should step in to stop it. Don’t want anyone getting hurt. Talk to your kids about what to do when they witness bullying. Role play if necessary. Discuss what they should do should they be bullied.

Help your family recognize Man Bites Dog situations and discuss ways to handle them. Let’s never let wrong behavior become the norm.

Discussion Questions

1. Share the story of Jesus and the Temple. Ask your kids what THEY think the story is about.

2. Talk about the Temple leaders and the way they treated Jesus and the people.

3. Talk about bullying. Let your kids talk. Listen to what they are saying. Draw them out.

4. Share stories from your life that involve bullying.

5. This is not a one and done topic. You need to address this topic again and again.

6. If a child seem reluctant to talk, get them alone in a relaxed and safe place to talk. It may take trying a few times but if you let them know they are safe and you are all working together, they should eventually open up.

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