Jesus entered the temple and threw out the buyers and sellers. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those selling doves.
Do you know who, for many years, has been the most recognizable figure in Canada? He is a commentator who does a four-minute segment with co-host Ron MacLean between the first and second periods of Hockey Night in Canada.
Don Cherry, who hosts the broadcast, Coach’s Corner, is recognized by more Canadians than any pop star, athlete, or politician – including the Prime Minister.
In 2004, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation took a national poll of the greatest Canadians in history. Don Cherry came in seventh – beating out Alexander Graham Bell and Wayne Gretzky.
How could a commentator – whose show is only broadcast during hockey season, and only for four minutes – become so famous? His flamboyant taste in suit coats doesn’t hurt, but his fame is focused in his outspoken style. Don Cherry is neither impartial nor subtle. He hurls opinions like grenades. When Coach’s Corner is over, you will have no difficulty knowing exactly where Cherry stands on any issue he addresses.
We live in a culture of timid opinions. We don’t want to offend. Even governmental leaders, whom we would expect to be guided by a solid political philosophy, are known for their haste in reversing their convictions in deference to public opinion.
President Harry Truman, however, asked how far Moses would have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt. What would Jesus have preached if he first taken a poll in the land of Israel? “What would have happened to the Reformation,” he wondered, “if Martin Luther had taken a poll?”
The temple in Jerusalem had a large, outer courtyard. In Isaiah 56, the Lord promised the foreigners that he would designate a place in the temple for them to pray.
The Gentiles, however, were pushed out of their courtyard when the chief priests brought in livestock and doves to sell for the sacrificial offerings. Previously, shops to buy sacrifices and exchange money flourished on the Mount of Olives. But now the chief priests set up their own monopoly in the temple -- gouging the people through exorbitant prices, and excluding the foreigners from their place of prayer.
Jesus stormed into the temple – smashing tables and starting a stampede. In the large crowds, his presence was evident by the fluttering of freed doves flying about him – with the poor clambering behind him as they chased down scattered coins. At the risk to his own life, his bold action restored the temple as a house of prayer.
Diplomacy and tact are virtues – unless they’re used to cloak our cowardice. But there comes a time to take a risk. There comes a time to take our stand.
(copyright 2011 by Marty Kaarre)