When we first read today’s Scripture we may protest, “Wait, he left out Jesus’ entrance into the temple where he was supposed to have thrown out the money changers because they were making God’s house into a den of thieves.”
But Mark’s version of that day’s events brings me comfort because it demonstrates that, just like us, Jesus was sometimes frustrated by too much to do and not enough time to do it. He did go into the temple courts, and he may very well have been incensed by what he saw going on and wanted to address the issue right then and there. But, verse 11 tells us, “since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.”
It can comfort us to imagine that Jesus was torn, just as we often are. According to the other Gospels He saw a systemic problem with the Temple system and immediately addressed it. But in this version of the story there wasn’t time to overturn the tables of the moneychangers. There wasn’t time to find some rope and make a whip. There wasn’t time to address those who were cheating the public and personally benefitting from cheating them. Jesus apparently resolved this inner conflict by remembering that He had a greater priority at that moment to go on to Bethany with the twelve. Perhaps he came back later, and perhaps the other Synoptic Gospel writers telescoped the two events so that they appeared to happen one right after the other.
O God, I long to solve all the world’s ills and still care for my own loved ones. But you know, O God, how full my plate is. Help me to allocate my time based on your values made known to us in Christ Jesus, in Whose Name I pray. Amen.
Rev. Judith Johnson-Siebold, Ph.D. is a United Methodist clergywoman in the Upper New
York Conference who writes children’s books.
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