Sunday, March 16, 2008

Good Tidings for the Poor, Healing for the Broken Hearted

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,

If you are among the millions of people who've been taken advantage of by sub-prime mortgage lenders, payday loan sharks, or other deceptive credit schemes this message is for you.

If you don't think that the Bible is relevant to today's issues then re-read the story of Palm Sunday. When you do you'll see that one day Jesus was welcomed by the crowds, praised and adored. However, in a few days much of that same crowd would be shouting "crucify him".


photo courtesy of

Matthew 21:1-16 (The Message)

When they neared Jerusalem, having arrived at Bethphage on Mount Olives, Jesus sent two disciples with these instructions: "Go over to the village across from you. You'll find a donkey tethered there, her colt with her. Untie her and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you're doing, say, 'The Master needs them!' He will send them with you."

This is the full story of what was sketched earlier by the prophet:
Tell Zion's daughter,

"Look, your king's on his way, poised and ready, mounted on a donkey, on a colt, foal of a pack animal."
The disciples went and did exactly what Jesus told them to do. They led the donkey and colt out, laid some of their clothes on them, and Jesus mounted. Nearly all the people in the crowd threw their garments down on the road, giving him a royal welcome. Others cut branches from the trees and threw them down as a welcome mat. Crowds went ahead and crowds followed, all of them calling out, "Hosanna to David's son!" "Blessed is he who comes in God's name!" "Hosanna in highest heaven!"

As he made his entrance into Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken. Unnerved, people were asking, "What's going on here? Who is this?"

The parade crowd answered, "This is the prophet Jesus, the one from Nazareth in Galilee."

Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants. He quoted this text:

My house was designated a house of prayer; You have made it a hangout for thieves.

Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.

When the religious leaders saw the outrageous things he was doing, and heard all the children running and shouting through the Temple, "Hosanna to David's Son!" they were up in arms and took him to task. "Do you hear what these children are saying?"

Jesus said, "Yes, I hear them. And haven't you read in God's Word, 'From the mouths of children and babies I'll furnish a place of praise'?"

* * * * *

Could it be that the one act of Jesus that upset the establishment the most was that he overturned their accepted monetary practices in order to help people?

Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead and taught a message of peace and forgiveness. But, feeding thousands with just a few fish and loaves of bread, he also taught that man was not dependent of the world's financial system for his existence. He taught that man should seek the Kingdom of Heaven and God's way of doing things instead of relying on the world's systems. And when Jesus saw his people being taken advantage of in a place where they should have being going for help and healing he was outraged and turned over the moneychangers' tables.

Now over 2,000 years later, he is turning over the moneychangers' tables again.

The enemies of God -- those who take advantage of the poor, prey on the most vulnerable, practice deception and, devise ways to keep people in bondage -- will be exposed and brought to justice.

Proverbs 13:23

"A poor man's field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away"

May you all have a blessed Palm Sunday. Let this day remind you that although it may seem that the world has forsaken you now, you too, will rise again.

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