But I love how deep the word of God is. Do you know what I mean? Like, how you can read it year after year, and new truths and concepts stick out to you at different seasons/times in your life. It's like digging for treasure. Sort of. Except without all the sweat and dirt and back-breaking shoveling. But, you get what I mean. Right?
I was reading the story of the triumphal entry this past Monday (confession time...yes, I was a day behind). Instead of stopping at the end of that story, I kept reading. And it led me right into another interesting passage.
Somehow, I forgot that Jesus went directly from being hailed as the Messiah and ushered into Jerusalem with celebration, to entering the temple courts and cleaning house.
He entered Jerusalem on a donkey's colt, which was a symbol of royalty and the fulfillment of a Messianic prophecy in Zechariah. The crowds were going wild. Finally, the Messiah had come to free them from the oppression of the Romans! Hosanna was their chant, which literally means "save now!" I can just imagine the excitement, anticipation, and ache for it to be true. The longing for the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies was centuries old and driven deep into the heart of every Jew. Could this Jesus really be the One?
Do you think the people of Jerusalem expected Jesus to establish His earthly rule on that day? To gather His disciples around Him and set up positions and military plans and smuggle weapons? Can you imagine the excitement of the disciples in that moment? After three years of following Jesus, it was finally going to pay off. Who would be Jesus' advisor? Who would be His military leader? If I expected this Jesus to be the Messiah, I would have expected Him to show some sort of military agenda. But what does He do?
"And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers.." (Matthew 21:12)
Wow. He pushes through all of their preconceived ideas and reminds them that His reign is spiritual, that His kingdom is heavenly, not physical. That He wasn't there to get rid of the Romans. He was there to sanctify His bride.
If I was in that crowd, I'd be really disappointed. Like, what was that? Did we just get distracted on the way to overthrowing the entire Roman empire? What's the big deal with a couple of salesman in the temple?!
But isn't that how I can often be? I can sing the worship songs and get excited about certain passages of Scripture. I can do ministry and _______. But when the Holy Spirit puts His finger on those certain areas of my heart - those dark, dusty corners that I've kept hidden for so long, I shirk away and try to protect myself. The attitude I've grown accustomed to, the lies I don't even realize I believe, the thoughts I would rather no one see.
When Jesus comes as King, He comes to reign. And a good king doesn't allow the enemy's fortresses, weapons, and laws to stay around in his kingdom. He comes to cleanse, to purge, to purify. He purchased every single nook and cranny of our lives with His blood. He has the authority to shine His light over every dusty, cobwebbed crack and corner. No matter how uncomfortable or painful it is in the process.
Because He's also coming to heal.
Matthew 21:14, the verse directly after the temple cleansing, states: "And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them."
Really? The Messiah? The One, who just might be the Long-Awaited One? He might have been sidetracked on the temple cleansing, but now this? What is He thinking? A king doesn't associate with the outcasts of society! Doesn't He know the importance of His mission? We're talking about the Romans here. Not the sick!
Yes, this is Jesus. The Messiah. The Chosen One. And His reign is spiritual dominion and redemption and compassion. He reaches into the dirty and messy of our life. He moves into the dark to cleanse and heal and restore with the strength and authority of a king, but the care and tenderness of a friend.
Jesus could have just spoken a word and sent mass healing to all the sick, all the blind, all the lepers, etc. But what does He do? Throughout the Gospels, we see Him healing one-by-one, talking with the outcasts, touching the unclean, and liberating souls as well as bodies.
So don't fear His reign. Don't squirm away from His touch. He brings life. He brings holiness. He brings healing.