Text Messages

Text Messages focus on the backstory of the upcoming text for this Sunday’s sermon. Provided by our pastors, these messages will give some background on that section of scripture text and give a few hints about where the sermon might be going.

We hope you find these Text Messages helpful!

Sunday, March 3, 2024

SERIES:
“Promises, Promises”

THEME:
“Transactional/Formal”

TEXT:
Exodus 20:1–17

Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

TEXT:
John 2:13–22

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”

REFLECTION:
From Pastor Meta Herrick Carlson

Jesus’ relationship with the temple in Jerusalem comes up several times in the gospels. It’s first referenced when he is a baby and the magi gift him frankincense (an incense used by the high priest in the temple). He and his family visit the temple for his dedication and other major festivals throughout his childhood. He spends time in the temple with the disciples during his ministry, too. 

By the time he clears the temple in this story, he’s become very familiar with temple commerce and trade, who makes a profit and at whose expense. Perhaps, as the Son of God, he not only observes it as an eternal scene, but feels the sensations of their distracted loyalties and economies in his own body.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

  • Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “Your body is a temple”. How do you interpret that statement in the context of this gospel reading?
  • The Jerusalem/Second Temple was destroyed a few decades after Jesus’ death. What physical spaces are meaningful to your spiritual life? What can happen when we become overly attached to physical spaces or a sense of their permanence?

PRAYER:
Holy God, you are present in the holy spaces we hallow and build—and also way beyond. Send your Spirit to stir wherever we have mistaken finite things for infinite ones and breathe new life into dry bones, reminding us that every living thing embodies the sacred and preaches resurrection. Amen.