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Doing Dad’s business

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The busy week began with organizing God’s People’s march in the capital. The festival goers who came from the oppressed Galilean countryside and elsewhere were chanting a militant “HOSHIA NA, HOSHIA NA’ or Time for Deliverance, alongside Jesus/Yeshua. In their hands, for placards, they waved branches and bush from the palm, olive and other trees.

That morning was electrical, with intense excitement in Jerusalem. The townspeople were fascinated; some of them wanting to jump in the procession, but the city leaders were muttering and pacing about in alarm and nervousness. In fact, Jesus/Yeshua, in this demonstration, was getting across His Dad’s message to the laity and the temple power-holders.

The gospels call the power elite, ‘lestai’, a name that might be related to kleptomania. In Mark’s gospel 11; 17, Jesus explains: “Daddy’s business is a righteousness that all peoples can access, but you have turned it into your own property, you den of robbers (lestai)”. That is the note on which the week began: people claiming God’s tidings of deliverance, but God’s leaders hoarding it for their own interests.

SIN IN THE CITY

During that Holy Week, every day Jesus carried out an education and consciousness-raising and spirit-building salvation campaign among the people. At the same time the coalition of priests, lawyers, Sadducees and Roman empire clients put together an opposition programme to manage salvation as something that God gave to their class! When the Son of Man, Prophet from Galilee preached the parable of land workers who took over the estate from the owner, and killed the owner’s son, it was a transparent picture of how the temple rulers were treating God and His purpose. The guys were trying to thief God’s salvation.

The prophet Ezekiel, in chapter 34; 1-6, exposed earlier leaders who organized their leadership to benefit their class and disinherit the people of God from fullness of life.

Jesus had an evening class tutorial around the temple treasury, where the upper classes were paying their hefty sums of money into the temple funds. (See Mark 12 ; 38-44). It was as if they were on TV, all flash and bling. ‘Those guys rip off the property of widows who have no one to defend them, and then they look as if they are so generous, and God-fearing, but nobody notices the poor women who shamefacedly drops in her penny in the treasury. She may not have another penny at home, you know. The temple is ripping her off too.’ Jesus was unmasking the nature of sin in the city. Sin was a structured evil, hiding behind the claims of class, trying to look decent, but by the end of the week, there was blood all over the face of that decent class.

SHARING MEALS

It is difficult for those who are well off to share bread genuinely with the lower classes. I think of three cases: Nicodemus was in a higher class than Jesus and he couldn’t take up Jesus’ challenge to be born over. Zacchaeus was wealthy, but also compromised, bearing stigma, and vulnerable. He was able to come to consensus and common table with Jesus. The Pharisee who invited Jesus to share a meal at his home had a higher social position than the homeless, though popular prophet from Galilee. The host was willing to entertain Jesus, but not the kinds of persons who followed Him, and so a woman who came to minister love for Jesus was treated shabbily.

The dynamics of the scene are complex, but doing His Dad’s business that week certainly made some groups uncomfortable with Jesus. Down to His own close friends, whom He called to share a ‘prayer meal’ with Him in Gethsemane, ran out on Him. It was a successful business week for our liberation, but what a lonely time as well. Blessed holy week.

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