Aaaaaand we’re back.
The cleansing of the Temple. This story has always interested me because it seemed so “out of character” for Christ to be pitching a fit. But that’s what this whole reading expedition is about, right? Figuring out what he was really like? (Not that I’m saying he was actually pitching a fit- you all know what I mean) I thought Talmage had some really interesting things to say. I like his explanation for the use of physical force, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this:
“With tender regard for the imprisoned and helpless birds He refrained from assaulting their cages; but to their owners He said: “Take these things hence” .
That says SO much.
This section reminded me about one of my favorite parts of one of my favorite books- the book that got me thinking about how I see Christ vs. how He really was. It’s Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, and this part comes toward the end when Zooey is challenging Franny’s attempt at saying the Jesus Prayer on the grounds that she doesn’t see Christ for who He was.
“I don’t know if you remember, but I remember a time around here, buddy, when you were going through a little apostasy from the New Testament that could be heard for miles around.
“I’m bringing it up because I don’t think you understood Jesus when you were a child and I don’t think you understand him now. I think you’ve got him confused in your mind with about five or ten other religious personages, and I don’t see how you can go ahead with the Jesus Prayer till you know who’s who and what’s what. Do you remember at all what started off that little apostasy?
” Well I do, it happens. Matthew, Chapter Six. I remember it very clearly buddy. I even remember where I was. I was back in my room putting some friction tape on my hockey stick, and you banged in- all in an uproar, with the Bible wide open. You didn’t like Jesus any more, and you wanted to know if you could call Seymour at his Army camp and tell him all about it. And you know why you didn’t like him anymore? I’ll tell you. Because, one, you didn’t approve of his going into the synagogue and throwing all the tables and idols all over the place. That was very rude, very Unnecessary.”
I think Franny could have benefited from reading this book. π
I love this, because I think it’s at the heart of Franny’s issue with Christ, and with many who complain that Christians aren’t being Christlike when they call out sin (this is from Jesus the Christ, not Franny and Zooey): “Gentle He was, and patient under affliction, merciful and long-suffering in dealing with contrite sinners, yet stern and inflexible in the presence of hypocrisy, and unsparing in His denunciation of persistent evil-doers. … His nature was no poetic conception of cherubic sweetness ever present, but that of a Man, with the emotions and passions essential to manhood and manliness. … But of all His passions, however gently they rippled or strongly surged, He was ever master. ”
I love Talmage’s point that right is mightier than wrong, and that “consciousness of guilt robs the culprit of valor when the imminence of just retribution is apparent to his soul.”
I found this really compelling- speaking of Nicodemus: “one who was conscious of a belief in the Christ, but whose belief was never developed into such genuine and virile faith as would impel to acceptance and compliance irrespective of cost or consequence.” How do we move from belief to that genuine faith? Like Brandy said, we have to start with a desire to believe, a hope, but how do we develop it farther? Is it simply a matter of experimenting on the word?
Thoughts on that, or anything else?