Friday, January 31, 2020

The Whip

I remember being a little girl hanging out with my sisters in our bedroom. It was bedtime and my father had instructed us to go to sleep. Instead we were giggling making noise, just being silly kids.

My father warned us several times to go to bed. We could have obeyed his authority but children as we were, we continued to laugh, giggle and make a ruckus out of bedtime.

I come often to this memory because it showed me my dad's authority but also his mercy. My dad came into our bedroom clicked on the light and commanded that my two sisters and I get out of bed. He lined us up military style with the belt in his hand. We knew we were in trouble!

My dad had never used the belt on us. Just one look was enough of a warning for me. But that night we challenged his authority. 

It seemed like forever as we stood at attention waiting for the discipline to come. Suddenly, my dad with belt in his hand burst out laughing. I'm sure that was odd for us. After all laughter that was the very reason we were in trouble!

Actually, it wasn't the laughter at all! We chose to challenge of his authority!

Well my dad in his gentleness commanded us to go to bed and this time we obeyed.

In the book of John, we see Jesus in the temple courts addressing an issue that had developed in the place of worship. The temple built with specific instructions from God himself. It was a place to meet with God. A place of consecration. A place of prayer and worship.

Jesus arrives at the scene. The part that stands out to me always is verse 15. “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money and overthrew the tables.” (John 2:15 KJV)

How long was Jesus watching the scene? How long did it take him to make the whip? Was he walking among the people and not recognized?
“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” (John 1:10)

Jesus exhibits his patience. How often has he watched us in our own demise, perhaps trying to get our attention but we have ignored or not recognized his authority? A heart of rebellion always challenges authority. Whether we are a little girl in a room not listening to her daddy or redeemed child of Almighty God still messing with sin; He wants us to obey.

Did Jesus sit in a corner and watch his House of Prayer turn into a marketplace? As he put the whip together was, he praying for them?

How many times have we been in sin and we hear the Father enter in and turn on the light during our times of darkness? Have we recognized his authority? Is it not his mercy that leads us to repentance? “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

John says that the whip was used to disperse the animals. Tables were overturned and the coins were scattered all over the temple floor. Not once do we see the Lord harming any animal or for that matter any person involved in this shamble.

“The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” (v18)

Why would the Jews ask him that question? They didn’t recognize the Authority in the room! Yet, I am certain their hearts were challenged that day. Darkness does not like to be exposed.

A repented submitted heart allows God’s mercy to flow.

That night as a little girl I'm sure I went to sleep thankful I didn't get whacked with a belt.

Today as a child of God I am thankful for his mercy and his grace. I know the Lord has watched we make mistakes. Perhaps at times outright rebelled. But the Lord is gentle. He is the authority over me helping to shape this stubborn heart. Causing me to bend toward righteousness as he leads me by his Spirit.

So, let’s enter the place of worship and give to Jesus our attention, devotion and worship. He promises to meet with us.

He has called! “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)

Let’s pay attention. He is speaking and even walking among us.

The whip never touched the sinners and those making a mockery of the temple that day.  Yet, the Innocent One was beaten and whipped and the hands of rebellious men with a whip made by their hands.  

"Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him." (John 19:1)

God bless you!~Liz


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