Exodus 20:1–17; John 2:13–22; 1 Corinthians 1:18–25; Psalm 19 (read online ⧉)
The 10 Commandments in Exodus. The temple cleaned out with whips. The foolishness of the Cross versus signs and wisdom. All 3 passages are passionate reminders of who God is, and each tells so in different ways.
Exodus establishes the foundations of the God-Israel relationship (and speaks to ours, as well). The Gospel of John tells of the cleansing of the temple, removing man-made obstacles and the exposing duping of the faithful. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians encourages them that they cannot base faith on mere Greek “wisdom” and the Jewish desire for signs.
God sets some ground rules for righteous and loving interacting relationship with God and man. Jesus summarizes it this way, “…‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” [Matthew 22:36-40]
Through the cleansing of the Temple, Jesus cleared his Father’s house of that which distracted from worshiping God, and that which prevent right worship. Jesus made a point that his Father’s house has one purpose, worshiping God. He also called the leaders and merchants out on their corruption of a sacrificial law that was intended to bring people to God, while reminding them that they needed a bridge (blood) to cover their wrongs.
Paul let Christians know that the world would never view them the same as it used to. Their interactions with the world would be strained, as they were considered fools by their beliefs. This church of Jew and Gentile was confronted by the Jew and Gentile outside faith in Jesus, and how they no longer quite fit into the world they left behind.
Much of our journey in faith can be summarized into these three areas: our relationship with God; our relationships with others in the faith; our relationships with those outside the faith. We can even look at Jesus’ life with these three facets, seeing the ebb and flow.
At the beginning of our walk, we usually try to balance these three facets, but unlike a triangle or tripod, the three facets are not really able to be balanced. We tend to extremes in them all, bouncing from one to another. Many people have found that the best expression is the three concentric circles, starting with a small circle, which is circled by a larger one, which is circled by even a larger one.
Of course, the question is what is the order of the circles?
1) Going from inner to middle to outer ring, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each perspective?
a. God / Others in the Faith / Others in the World
b. Others in the World / Others in the Faith / God
2) Which one are you?