If you ever spend time reading the prophets of the Old Testament, you will quickly discover they often denounce two things again and again. Those two things are idolatry and injustice.  One minute the prophet may be rebuking Israel’s idolatry and the next minute the prophet is condemning the injustices found in Israel.  We might be surprised that the prophets link these two together.  We might think, “isn’t idolatry a religious matter and injustice a political matter?” 

As Westerners, we tend to separate idolatry and injustice.  We tend to make a distinction between religion and politics.  But the prophets connected them together.  They connected them together because whenever there was idolatry, injustice was soon to follow.  And wherever one found injustice, one was sure to find idolatry. 

Psalm 16:4, says, “The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.”  The sorrows of those who make idols increase because “those who make them will be like them.” (Psalm 135:18).  When we make idols, instead of being an image bearer, an icon, we become an image bearer of the idol.  This results in suffering for others.

Which brings us to our scripture for this Sunday from Mark 11:12-25.  In this passage Jesus clears the temple of those who were buying and selling and exchanging money in the temple.  As he cleared the temple he quoted Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11, saying, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations,” but you have made it “a den of robbers.”  In this passage Jesus confronts the idolatry of the religious leadership in Jerusalem.  He challenges their control of the Temple—for their thirst for power has prohibited all nations from worshiping God.  This, as we know, would lead to the suffering of the Son of Man, the greatest injustice of all. 

While idolatry, injustice and suffering often seem to rule the day, we are invited to walk a different path.  We are invited to walk in Jesus’ steps that we and others might experience God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness, that we may have life and have it to the full!

 

Pastor Dave