My dad is calm (robotically calm). We were putting together a very detailed Christmas present last year and discovered we completed one step wrong 45 minutes prior and had to tear down everything we put together and start over. My dad made no grunt. He didn’t slam his hand on the ground. He didn’t even stop working. He simply started tearing down everything we had built. He’s that guy. But even in his serenity, there are times when he gets worked up. I remember a softball game he was coaching where the umpire obviously didn’t want to be there. He was making bad call after bad call and admitted he just wanted to be at his son’s game and not where he was. Going through nearly a whole game of obviously poor calls, a player on my dad’s team swung and tipped the ball to the backstop. The umpire said, “strike three,” and my dad’s face, which was in the umpire’s face after this call, turned a shade I was glad I hadn’t seen before.
The story of my dad and that umpire reminds me of Jesus walking into the temple in Jerusalem and driving away the money changers and the merchants of animals. Jesus, like my dad, was intense because he cared. Jesus wanted people treated fairly and he wanted God glorified. The corrupt religious system exploited the marginalized. Jesus’ actions show us God wants justice in our world. It also shows us controlled intensity is sometimes a way to usher justice into this world (even on a softball field).
Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:12-17
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.