Yes, Jesus gets angry! Our intimate walk with Jesus to the cross continues as he enters Jerusalem. You’ll recall how he cried out to Jerusalem in our last reading, lamenting her future. Now he sees firsthand how the holy Temple has been abused! Jeremiah’s prophecy had predicted it, “Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 7:11)
What did Jesus’ disciples do at his outburst? They were certainly surprised. Jesus was usually the calm, level-headed one who loved even the unlovable. This display of anger made sense, especially considering the pressure Jesus was under knowing his final hours were approaching.
Paul writes this letter to his dear friend Timothy to help him discern issues facing the early church. The wisdom here for us is still relevant and refreshing. You’ll recall Timothy was a young protégé of Paul’s serving as a church leader in Ephesus. Paul was a bit of a father figure to Timothy, too, so you might sense that kind of dynamic in the writing.
You can likely think of your own close Christian friend who took delight in pouring into you over the years. Those are treasured relationships. You may also be the wise one doing the same for the next generation. With all that is happening in our world, it’s easy to get distracted and focus on unhealthy sources. How thankful we can be for wise counsel, like Paul’s.
When we’re spending time with God, we’re generally focusing only on our own relationship with God. Here we’re given counsel on best practices for us in interacting with other relationships with have in our lives. Our households. The world would be a lot friendlier place if we took better care of our loved ones in these simple ways.
For fear of sounding a bit “old-fashioned,” I fondly remember the days when family dinner time was sacred time. Whether it was a fancy meal or just something quick, spending time with each other is what was important. We connected. We shared lives together. It was so much easier to be mutually submissive, loving, encouraging, etc.
This is how we ended the last reading. “But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.” Now we know what Paul was referring to. It’s all about love. This is probably a familiar passage, especially if you’ve attended a wedding. What better setting than a wedding to review God’s ideal way of life! It sets up the newlyweds for success and reminds us all how love works.
We are called to love one another, and Paul describes for us what that looks like. Love is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot for things, like “I love chocolate.” While I am very much a fan of chocolate and will choose chocolate over pretty much any other flavor if given a choice, “loving” it in a Biblical sense doesn’t quite fit.
King David is portrayed in several different ways in this text. As king and as a father, we see David in a bit of torment. Yet, he doesn’t let this stop him. He only asks, “deal gently with young Absalom.” David doesn’t use the word “son,” perhaps because it hurts too much to know his own son has turned away from him.
When his predecessor, Saul, learned that his own son, Jonathan had turned against him, he went bezerk. David does not lose his composure or ability to lead. In fact, he is seen as “too valuable” to go to war against Absalom.