Posts Tagged ‘celebrity’

Matthew 21:12-17 (Part 3)

Jesus Clears the Temple Again

 

We have spent the last two days looking at how Jesus got mad at how the Court of the Gentiles within the Temple grounds had become so focused on commerce rather than the allowing God-fearing Gentiles from worshiping God. There was so much commerce going on there that it was a complete distraction and left little physical room for Gentiles to worship God. This made Jesus angry because the Temple was not supposed to be this way. It was supposed to be a wonderfully, reverent, quiet place to worship God. God was not first anymore here. It was the making of money that was first. Now, today, let’s talk about Jesus Himself in this scene.

 

I don’t know if you watched the Republican presidential debate last night from Houston, TX carried on television by the CNN network. It was a sad commentary to me on the politics of our nation where a candidate like Donald Trump actually has traction. America has become so enamored with celebrity that Donald Trump is likely to win the Republican Party’s nomination for President. After watching last night’s debate, it firmly convinced me that this man is enamored beyond belief with his own celebrity and that he has no business being a candidate for President. The man never revealed any definitive policy positions. He spent his whole time bashing Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and when pressed on what his position was on a particular subject, he never gave a real answer. His answers to questions about Israel were literally contradictory in the same sentences. His answers to questions about the Mexican border were equally as laughable. His answers about cutting taxes were pie in the sky dreams that will work in a 8 year presidency much less a 4 year one. Marco Rubio was masterful in pointing out that Trump is just a loud mouth, blow-hard who is style and no substance. He was masterful at pointing out the contradictions of Trump’s statements throughout his career and his candidacy. The sad fact is that Trump doesn’t care about any of that. Trump is so in love with himself that he thinks he is right even when he contradicts himself. He is so in love with himself, he doesn’t even know that he lost the debate last night. He is like the little spoiled rotten kid who when you prove he is wrong just starts calling you names and ridicules you about things having nothing to do with the subject of the conversation. Well, yeah, but you’re a loser! I pray desperately that our choices for President of the United States are not Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It is this Trump illustration that brings us to the point of our discussion today, which is Jesus Himself in the scene presented by Matthew in Matthew 21:12-17. Let us read it together:

 

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.”

 

14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

 

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

 

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

 

“‘From the lips of children and infants

   you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

 

 

Isn’t funny that the religious leaders could not see Jesus for who He really is much like the angry, pissed off white people that are giving Trump’s campaign traction. We have become so in love with celebrity in the 500 cable channel world that nothingness has an audience. We have become so enamored with wealthy people that we will make them celebrities even when they have nothing of value to say other than being bad boys or girls. The same nation that has made Trump a celebrity has made Snookie a celebrity. We are a nation that makes celebrities out of people just because they get their face on television and not because they are talented or even have anything of great value to inspire us. All I say to the Trump supporters out there is – be careful what you wish for cause you just might get it. It will be like putting a kid in the cockpit of an F-16 and saying “go fly boy!”Vapidness wins the day.

 

I think of the religious elite here in this scene with Jesus in the same way. They are clueless and they should be the ones with a clue since they are charged with being Israel’s religious leaders. Blind men, in the scene before this one, could see Jesus as the promised Messiah but yet these so-called religious leaders could not. We know from the other gospels what Jesus said to them here angered them so much that began to desire murdering Jesus.

 

Let’s be clear here about what Jesus said about Himself here. After performing miracles in their presence and hearing the children shouting that He was the Son of David and the chief priests ask Jesus about it. He responds with a quote from Psalm 8 in the Old Testament. Psalm 8 was a praise Him about the majesty of God and how we are humbled by His allowing us dominion over His creation. Specifically, He quotes Psalm 8:2 where the children of God sing His praises. Do not mistake it here. Jesus is calling Himself God. Jesus makes it very clear to the chief priests with that statement that He is God. Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus is God come down from heaven. Jesus is God that they psalmist was writing about. However, the chief priests were blind to the signs of who Jesus was. They could not see the Messiah. They were more concerned with their own celebrity. They were more concerned about keeping their position. They were more concerned about making money in the temple. They were more concerned about things that don’t matter in eternity than they were about recognizing the Messiah standing in front of them. They were the Donald Trumps of their day. They were enamored with who they were. They were charged with being the leaders of people but yet they were blind guides with no clue about worshiping God or about seeking His presence. All they were blow-hards that enjoyed hearing themselves talk and enjoyed sitting at the finest tables at meals and they enjoyed all the attention that they got. They had no clue because they had no spirit in them. They had sight but could not see the Messiah. They just thought Him some prophet who was crazy enough to say out loud that He thought He was God. They denied the miracles or ignored them. They did not want Jesus to be God in the flesh. It would have meant the end of the search for the Messiah. It would have meant the end of their position as the heralds of the Messiah. It would have ended their position as the leaders of Israel. They did not want to see the Messiah because it would have changed their lifestyle.

 

Are we not the same way today? Our world wants to make Jesus something other than He is so that it does not change our lifestyle. We want to like Jesus as a great guy and a great philosopher. We want to like him as an anti-establishment rebel. We want to like Him as just a guy who accepted everybody right where they are. We forget that Jesus Christ is God. He is God come down from heaven. We must ignore that. We must discount the miracles. We must leave out this scene altogether from Matthew. We don’t want and angry Jesus who calls Himself God in the flesh. We must ignore that if we want to continue living the way we live today. Jesus has to be an option not the central core of the universe. He has to be an option so that we can make the things that He says that we don’t like optional. He has to be an option and not God Himself. We need Jesus just to be a guy so that we can put less value in His Word. We need Jesus to be just a guy so we can pick and choose among religions as to what works for our lives. We need Jesus to be just a guy so that we do not have deal with Him being God in the flesh. We will have to account for our position on Jesus one day. Are you willing to bet your eternity on Jesus being just a guy? Are you willing to throw away the parts of the Bible where He comes right out and says that He is God? Are you willing to bet your eternity on the pick and choose menu of modern belief systems and miss the fact that Jesus is God? As C.S. Lewis so eloquently stated once that Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord? Do you see Him as Lord? You cannot have the Jesus of your choosing. You either crucify Him as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did or you believe that He is God in the flesh. We must all account for this decision on this side of eternity and your answer to that one simple question determines your eternal home. Do you see the Messiah standing right in front of you or are you so enamored with the trappings of this world and your lifestyle that you cannot? Eternity hangs in the balance.

 

Just as our country is at what I see as probably the most crucial presidential election in our nation’s history and no one sees the train wreck that is coming with the popularity of Clinton, Sanders, and Trump. Socialism vs. Self-Loving Celebrity. We cannot see those who truly have a vision for what our country needs such as a Marc Rubio who has the passion to get it done. We have polarizing figures who glory in making people angry and walk away. It’s like a choice between which type of poison you want to die from and we, as a nation of people enamored by celebrity and scandal and people being rude for the hell of it, do not see the candidates who can really save our nation from the trainwreck that we are headed toward. Just as the religious elite was so enamored with their position in society, and their wealth, they could not see anything wrong with commercializing the Temple courts, and they could not see the Bible’s promise of a Messiah standing right in front of them. Just as we make Jesus just another guy. We are missing the boat my friends. Eternity’s coming. Make the right choice. See the Messiah. See your train wreck coming. See the Messiah and accept Him as your Savior. Make the choice of a lifetime. Make the choice of your eternal future in Jesus Christ. He is God. He is the One. He is I AM. Amen and Amen.