Whether you like his politics or not, former President Barack Obama had “it”. You know that self-assured, self-confident and cool even when under pressure demeanor. Some call it swagger but that’s not quite it. Swagger goes beyond and leans toward arrogance and cockiness. The “it” I’m talking about is that sense of knowing your God-given purpose, understanding your gifts and talents, and using them responsibly and with authority when necessary.
Today is the Monday of Holy Week. My reading today was from Luke 19:45-20:8. In this passage, Jesus is at the Temple. In my mind’s re-enactment, it was Monday and Jesus was in an “I’m not having it today” kind of mood. You know, we’ve had those same Mondays. The kind where you walk into the office and you’re thinking “I just need to have my coffee and do my work. I don’t need a whole of drama happening around here because today is not the day and I am not the one.” Okay, well maybe that just describes some of the Mondays I have had!
Jesus shows up at the Temple and starts making some bold moves. He drives out the people who are selling. Then he hits them with the Word while he was cleaning house. Like I said earlier, it was no time to play. Jesus had some stuff he needed to do to fulfill his purpose and he was cleaning up the environment so that his purpose could go forward.
Here’s our first point:
- People will try to block you from pursuing your purpose. Are you self-confident enough to start making some bold moves to clear out whatever is blocking you? Or, are you waiting for another time or for someone else to do it? We don’t have to wait! We have the Holy Spirit in us and this “new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold” 2 Corinthians 3:12 NLT.
Most people were not happy that Jesus had come in and disrupted the way they were running things. Verse 47 says that every day he showed up to teach and every day he had to put up with the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and leaders of the people who were trying to kill him. Get it? Every day Jesus had to deal with the same people who were trying to block him from doing his work.
Here’s our second point:
- It takes courage to keep fighting for what you know you’re supposed to do every day, even in the face of adversity. Do you start to question if this was ever your call to start with? I mean if you’re doing God’s will, the least He could do it make it an easy path, don’t you think? But He does! Joshua 1:9 NLT reads, “This is my command-be strong and of good courage! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
And this is how I know this event had to have happened on a Monday because you can tell that Jesus has had just about enough of this foolishness. These people who had great intelligence and education decided they were going to question Jesus’ purpose and authority to proclaim the Gospel. Jesus, again, cool-headed as always replied, “Okay, let me ask you one.” And he goes on to ask them about whether John’s baptism was from heaven or human nature. They deliberate and mumble under their breath and finally decided that they were going middle of the road and not really give an answer. And this is what I love about Jesus…he shut it down and told them if they couldn’t answer his question, then neither would he answer theirs. PeriodT.
Here’s our final point:
- Everybody is not ready for your purpose. Remember Joseph and his coat of many colors? Joseph had dreams. He knew that there was a call on his life. But he was somewhat immature and lacked the discernment to know when and with whom to share his purpose. Jesus, on the other hand knew exactly where to spend his time and he wasn’t about to waste it on the chief priests and teachers of the law.
We are called to be what we have been called to be…without excuses, without delay and sometimes without explanation but always with God’s authority and His guidance.