What Frustrates You?
Matthew 21:12 And Jesus entered the temple  and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”
17 And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.
In this scene from the life of Christ we find two instances in which those involved are frustrated over what is happening at the temple. Jesus enters and he sees that the temple is not a house of prayer, but that it's being used in a way to take advantage of people. It is not fulfilling the purpose for which it had been created. Instead, it was used for human gain and he was angry.
The next moment we read that the blind and lame were being brought to Jesus. He was still within the temple and people were being healed. Suddenly another moment of frustration but this time it comes from the chief priests and the scribes who are disgusted that the children are calling him the Son of David.
The religious leaders were blind to the reality of the situation. They were the overseers of the temple and yet they were only concerned with personal gain. It didn't matter if the temple wasn't fulfilling its true purpose if their personal needs and wants were met. We can only imagine that they were receiving some kind of kick-backs from what was happening within the walls.
Jesus was fulfilling the purpose of the temple through his actions in this way was bringing the temple to completion, or perfection. He was the new and living Temple and in his actions God himself was revealed. The priests couldn't see it for they had become blind to the things of God. But the innocent children, they were able to see the truth and they naively spoke exactly what they saw and declared Jesus to be the Son of David.
Two scenarios and two sets of frustration.
Yet, if we were honest with ourselves we might find ourselves in the priests' camp. Over the years it's easy for religion to become something that satisfies our own personal needs. Our eyes become clouded by our own desires and we may even use our faith as a tool to manipulate circumstances for our own good.
As God's holy people we are constantly reminded to seek his face. Only when we see face to face with Christ can we truly reflect him to the world. As his desires become our desires we begin to see the world through his lens. Suddenly the reality of the needs of others overwhelms us and we see our faith as coming to completion only when we are able to embody Christ to a needy world.
Advent and Christmas are beautiful seasons and yet they don’t exist for our own personal enjoyment but for what God can accomplish in and through us for his purposes. There will be times when we will be tempted to be frustrated this season and when we may be personally offended. It’s at that moment that we need to stop and think about how we are reacting and in which camp we find ourselves.
What really frustrates you?
Lord, please forgive me if I have used my faith as a tool for manipulation. Please, help me to see with child-like faith. Amen.
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