The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.
Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
"I like to remember that when someone asks, 'What Would Jesus Do?' that a perfectly acceptable answer is yell and throw things," a friend of mine once remarked. They were right. I've tried to remember this in my walk with Christ and my ministry. You probably remember Gray referencing Aslan, the lion of Narnia who represents Jesus in those C.S. Lewis stories. When the girl asks if he's a safe lion, she's told he's not safe at all, but he is good. The Jesus of most of our artwork, our movies and TV programs, our imaginations, that Jesus is tame. Safe. But that's not the Jesus of scripture. The Jesus of scripture is gentle and compassionate when it is called for and a lion of strength and ferocity when that is called for instead.
My friend, singer-songwriter and activist, David Lamotte has a song about this more whole, more complete person of Jesus. The refrain is meant to be sarcastic, "Sing me a song about Jesus, but please don't sing about the poor. It's already been a long day now. I really don't wanna hear any more. Sing me a song about Jesus that'll make me feel happy inside. Sing me a song about Jesus that'll make this lifestyle feel justified." He's even had people come up after his shows to thank him for that song and say how weary they are of being challenged by Jesus and they just wanna be happy. They miss the whole point. Jesus was a troublemaker when necessary. Trouble that was intended to speak up for the oppressed loudly enough to disrupt the lives of those in comfort and power.
I've been reflecting all week on the life of Georgia's own John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, and all the other unnamed men and women who marched and spoke out and endured the scorn of the people of the law, the lashes of the soldier, the mockery of crowds of angry people, and all for the hope of God's Word that they could be free and have life abundantly. I haven't had the words to express my gratitude for their work, their words, their lives, their example, and their inspiration and transformation. My nation is better for their lives. But I don't need new words. God's words led them and inspired theirs. John Lewis studied them in seminary and from a young age. And he found the Jesus who was killed for being a dissenter. He captured the essence of Jesus and told us, "Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble." And so I aim to misbehave, for Jesus.