March 7, 2021: Good Trouble

Third Sunday in Lent

By the time we reach adolescence, most of us are somewhat aware of “the way things are supposed to be.” Often our awareness will begin to shape the way we live our lives, and we expect this pattern of correct behavior from the people and institutions we trust.

Jesus, Son of God, had a clear knowledge of what was right and what wasn’t. He knew that God’s house (the temple in Jerusalem) was supposed to be a holy place.

Instead, when Jesus came for the celebration of Passover, he found that this house of prayer had been turned into a commercial enterprise. He came to worship, and encountered a farmers’ market instead.

Rather than ignoring the situation or sadly shaking his head and walking away, God’s Son became so infuriated that he caused a disturbance. He turned over tables and scattered the livestock.

Needless to say, Jesus’ dramatic action got the attention of the religious leaders who had probably hoped that the day would go smoothly, without any problems. Jesus got into trouble with the authorities, but it was good trouble.

Often, in today’s world we see events that don’t reflect the pattern set for us by Jesus Christ. When faced with these situations, we can simply ignore them; we can complain to our friends and family; we can hope that someone else will take care of the problem.

Or, like Jesus, we can allow the zeal for our Lord to consume us. Correcting the wrongs we face will take courage. We will likely get into trouble. But we must pray that, as witnesses to the truth of Christ, our “good trouble” will be a wake-up call for our neighbors and our world.

Willie Israel, retired pastor
Asheville, North Carolina