In the evening of Palm Sunday, Jesus went to the Temple and found vendors who have set up their wares in the Temple court. Jesus is angry. Unlike an African Proverbs that says, “No matter how hot your anger may be it cannot cook,” Jesus anger, not only cleansed the Temples, Jesus’ anger restored the Temple. Jesus got angry because the Temple was not being used for prayer as it was intended but for profit by those who are taking advantage of the poor. Beyond the debate in the churches and among theologians across the world about the overturning of the tables and seats of the vendors, the question is, what is the message for the global pandemic today that has led to the global lockdown and closing of churches?
Tables in reality unite people, it is a good reason for meeting and conversation. In the spiritual context, the seats points to a throne, a seat of authority. The tables and seats of the pandemic vendors suggests the meetings, authority, and conversation of all parties in the chain management that makes that spread of the pandemic difficult to stop.
Among the key events during Jesus’ final week of his public ministry is the overturning of the tables and seats of vendors. There is a particular global pandemic enterprise that has brought the world into a lockdown and closure of churches. Jesus’ authority as displayed 2000 years ago is able to clear and cleanse our infected world and reopen our churches that are under lockdown. The church is called and sent to be a place where the wounded find healing, the lost are found, the broken are helped to put their lives back together.
The global pandemic enterprise unlike the money-changers and merchants is no respecter of anyone, the poor or the rich. The earth is of the Lord and the fullness thereof. The global pandemic vendor is a thief that have come to steal and to destroy God’s creation (Jn 10:10). The pandemic vendor is stealing from God and turning His world to a den of thieves, robbing people of their lives. The blind and the lame are now lockdown, not allowed even to come out of their houses or go to the church for healing encounters. Jesus, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow is able to demonstrate His divine authority again both by driving the pandemic vendors out of the world and by healing the sick in a renewing worship atmosphere and environment.
Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple is a challenge to us in a modern day pandemic experience. We have created a barrier for our peaceful movement and coexistence hence, Lent beyond an individual reflection calls us to look at our corporate sinfulness and repentance. God is able to cleanse the world as He did 2000 years ago to the temple of any distraction from the pure and exclusive focus on God. Let us prayerfully sing the hymn, ‘At the name of Jesus,’ by Caroline Maria Noel (1817-77) to pray and command the pandemic vendor to bow and confess Jesus as Lord.