Again and Again: Overturned Their Tables
John 2:13–17 (NIV)
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
1. The Lament of Jesus for Injustice
“Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”
And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” Mark 11:17 (NIV)
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:18–25 (NIV)
The practice of lament is one of the most theologically informed actions a person can take. While crying is fundamental to humanity, Christians lament because they know God is sovereign and good. Christians know his promises in the Scriptures. We believe in God’s power to deliver. We know the tomb is empty, and Jesus is alive… It is how we talk to God about our sorrows as we renew our hope in his sovereign care. – Mark Vroegop, Dare to Hope in God
2. The Actions of Jesus for Biblical Justice
He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables... “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
If you are trying to live a life in accordance with the Bible, the concept and call to justice are inescapable. We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God. Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs, but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable. This kind of life reflects the character of God. It consists of a broad range of activities, from simple fair and honest dealings with people in daily life, to regular, radically generous giving of your time and resources to activism that seeks to end particular forms of injustice, violence and oppression. – Timothy Keller, A
Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just
Small Group Questions
- Watch the Bible Project Video - Justice (see below)
- What did you find helpful in understanding Biblical Justice?
- What do you see as the difference between doing charity and doing justice?
- How does this idea of justice inform your participation in CSD?
SPIRITUAL PRACTICE - Prayer of Lament
Lent is a season set apart to examine our lives, reflect on our journey with Jesus, turn away from sin and embrace the power of the risen Christ. Lament is a faithful response to the pain and difficulties we face in our world. It is not just a complaint against God, it aligns our hearts with God, who desires the restoration of all things and provides redemption through Jesus.
Prepare our hearts: Pause for a moment of silence. Read Psalm 19 aloud, following along in your own Bible. As you listen, jot down anything that stands out to you.
Write your own Prayer of Lament, responding to these prompts as a way to help you express whatever is on your heart.
1. We will turn to God with confident praise. Christian prayers of lament require faith; they go beyond our own discomfort or disappointment allowing us to mourn the broken places in God’s creation. Biblical lament is grounded in a deep trust and confidence in God’s goodness and sovereignty.
Reflect: Lord God, I put my confidence in you because I know ...
Silently Pray: Lord, help me to open my heart and be honest with you.
2. We will open our hearts to God with complete honesty. One third of the Psalms are laments expressing the emotional anguish the psalmist feels over the pain, sorrow, injustice, and failure they see and experience around them. Let your words of lament come out of your own emotional anguish, naming your own feelings and experiences.
Reflect: Lord God, my soul is in anguish because I see ...
Silently Pray: Lord, help me empathize with those who are suffering, aligning my requests with your heart for justice.
3. We will ask God to intervene and repair what is broken. During Lent, we walk with Jesus to the cross, watching as he suffers and dies in order to restore and redeem all things. Meditate on Jesus’ sacrifice for sin, allowing his suffering to empower you to boldly ask for God’s intervention in the places that break your heart.
Reflect: Please Lord Jesus, move in our world to bring about…
Silently Pray: Lord God, trust you in all things and your glory is what I desire.
4. We will lift our voices in worship. Lament helps us resist hiding or running away from God in the midst of difficulties. Honest lament draws us into the heart of God’s love, mercy, and justice because we align our pain with God’s desire for wholeness and shalom for all. We partner with God as we act faithfully by trusting, worshipping, and following Jesus wherever he leads us.
Reflect: Lord God, I worship you because…
Silently Pray: Lord, lead me out to re-engage with the world with confidence and trust in you.
Group Sharing: What was this practice of lament like for you? Share with the group any insights you had about God or yourself. What are you learning about the language of lament?
Read John 2:13-17 aloud.
- What stands out to you in this week’s message and scripture passage?
- What is the significance of this event happening during the Passover Feast?
- What were the religious leaders blind to in assuming they were fulfilling the purposes of God? What are we blind to that creates a barrier to fulfilling God’s purposes today?
- Read Proverbs 31:8-9, Jeremiah 22:3, and Psalm 146:7-9 aloud. How does Jesus’ response in the temple fulfill God’s desire for justice? What would Jesus stand up to today?
- How does human wisdom differ from God’s wisdom when it comes to justice?
- Based on your SHAPE; how would you express your heartfelt passion (the wrong you desire to see made right)? How does your heartfelt passion reflect a piece of God’s heart?
PRAYER AND BENEDICTION
Pray for one another: How can we pray for you?
Benediction: (Psalm 19:7-10)
The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
DAILY PRACTICE: Continue to spend time with God daily in Solitude, Scripture, and Prayer, adding lament to your time with God. (See Lent Reading Plan, Playlist & Resources online)