A friend sent us a “wicked good map of Massachusetts.” She found it on a Facebook page for Boston, MA. Thanks, Julie.
Category Archives: MA
Winter Storm Nemo turned out to be more a montrous whale than a cute little clown fish. We received two feet of snow on the front lawn, or three and half feet if you count the berm left on the driveway by the snow plows. The bear by the front door was ready to hibernate. Thank goodness for a snow blower. Clearing the driveway by shovel would have been a month’s worth of cardio workouts.
Here’s a few pics of our morning activity. As you can see, the day started out gray and lightly snowing. But now the sun has come out. It is pretty, but still quite cold.
There are turning points in life which paint a distinct before and after picture. Before the event our lives were headed one direction. After the event, we headed off in an entirely different direction. Before we thought one thing; afterwards we had an entirely different perspective.
Sometimes the turning points are joyous occasions. Graduations, weddings, the birth of a child are events that drastically change a person’s life. Sometimes the events are traumatic such as an accident or doctor’s appointment where we are told we have cancer. Sometimes our life changes because of someone else’s action or decision. Whether the turning point is good, bad, or indifferent, life is never the same again.
One such event in Scripture occurred on Palm Sunday as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Matthew 21:1-11 records his triumphal entry as the crowds praised his name. But what happened after the confetti settled and the parade was over? How was life different for the disciples or the people of Jerusalem? In the same way, how is life different for a Christ follower after Jesus enters his or her life?
Matthew 21:12-22 gives us an answer to that question. It describes the events that take place the day after Palm Sunday. It helps us understand that life is never the same after King Jesus arrives. Jesus will challenge our priorities (12-13), heal our hurts (14), confront our biases (15-16), and expect fruit in our lives (18-22).
The day after entered Jerusalem, Jesus makes his way to the temple. There he observes how the temple complex had been turned into a place of commerce. There were pens of sheep and livestock available for purchase to use as sacrifices. If you could not afford those, you could buy pigeons or doves. Before making any purchase, you had to exchange your regional coins for temple money.
Jesus begins to drive the merchants and money changers out of the temple (12-13). He declares that the temple was to be a place of prayer, not a safe house for bandits. In his actions, Jesus challenged the priorities of the prevailing culture. Instead of focusing on worship, they were more concerned about busyness. By driving the merchants out, Jesus removed the weapons of mass distraction. He called for people to refocus their attention on the purpose of the temple—a place where people of every nationality could come to pray.
In verse 14, Jesus healed those who were blind and lame. Because of their physical disability, they were not welcome in the temple. They could not worship their creator. Beyond the physical healing, Jesus removed the barrier that kept these folks from entering the temple to worship.
After showing mercy to hurting people, Jesus confronted the bias of the religious leaders who were outraged that people were not worshipping in the proper manner (15-16). Ironically, they put up with the noise of commerce but cringed at the noise of praise. As he often did, Jesus comforted the afflicted and he afflicted the comfortable.
Outside of the city, Jesus saw a fig tree in full bloom (18-22). Normally, leaves meant the presence of figs. But that was not the case. The tree had the appearance of health and fruitfulness, but it was all a sham. Because of its hypocrisy, Jesus said the tree would never bloom again. Through his actions, Jesus taught his disciples that outward appearances are not enough. He expects to find fruit in our lives.
These same lessons should be true in our lives as well. When King Jesus comes into our lives, life is never the same again. He will challenge our priorities. He wants us to pursue a relationship with him rather than settle for busyness. He will heal our hurts and remove the barriers that hinder us from approaching him in worship. He will make us uncomfortable as he confronts our biases. And he will expect us to be fruitful in serving him.
Have you given King Jesus permission to cleanse and change your life?
(This is the synopsis of a message I preached today at the First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA.)