March 19, 2024

Jesus—The Heavenly Outlaw - Morning Devotion on Mar. 19, 2024

Jesus—The Heavenly Outlaw 

Passover week was extremely important in Jesus’ time. 
The historian Josephus estimated that 2.5 million Jews flooded into Jerusalem on a pilgrimage.  
Every family was supposed to sacrifice a lamb.
Almost 300,000 lambs were sacrificed during Passover week. 
To buy an animal to sacrifice, families had to change their Roman money into special silver coins. 
So, there were “moneychangers” around the Temple. 
The price of exchange was probably steep. 

Jesus may have become angry when he saw people being cheated. 
Jesus was so mad, he overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling animals for sacrifice (Matthew 21:12).
Jesus declared the place was like den of robbers (Matthew 21:13). 
Mark tells the same story (Mark 11: 15-17).

John tells the story in even stronger terms.
John says Jesus made a whip out of cords and whipped all the sheep and cattle out of the way in addition to turning over all the tables (John 2:13-17). 
A lot of people were impressed by Jesus’ righteousness, but the chief priests and teachers of the law began to think of ways to kill Jesus (Mark 11:18).

That night, Jesus went and stayed in Bethany, a couple of miles outside of Jerusalem.
This was the town where Martha and Mary lived.  
Practical Martha probably scolded him that he shouldn’t have turned the tables over. 

Father said, though, that Jesus did not violate heavenly law. 
Father made the point that heavenly law and human laws may be different.
Of course, we need laws, Father said, because, “The law sets limits and prohibits people from violating their minimal social responsibility.” 

Dr. Martin Luther King also upheld the rule of law.
He said, “Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.”

Like Father, though, Dr. King recognized higher laws. 
Dr. King said, “a higher law produces love.” 

Good people obey what Dr. King called “unenforceable laws”—the higher, more just, heavenly laws of love.  
Dr. King said that the future of humankind depends on people obeying these higher laws. 
He said that when Jesus chose to die on Calvary, it was “history’s most magnificent expression of obedience to the unenforceable”—that is, obedience to the higher laws of love. 

Because Jesus obeyed the laws of love, two thousand years after Jesus’ death, one out of every three people in the world is a Christian. (2.6 billion Christians out of 8.1 billion people). 
As Dr. Yong said, it is all because of Jesus’ love.  

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