Jesus, You & Me, and Leaky Tanks. And Lions.
Admission: I have no idea where this is going but that never stopped me before, so.....
More than once, I've used the leaky tank example in my SS Class. The idea is that, when you have some sort of tank holding air, or some other substance, if the pressure inside is greater than the pressure outside, whatever's in there is going to leak out. If, however, the pressure outside is greater than that inside, then what's outside is going to leak in. That's just 12th grade physics, one of the few classes I really aced. In 1956.
I know that because that's what it says on my 1956 Riparian from Broad Ripple High School, and my picture is in the Senior Class Section and that's when I took Physics.
If you have a lion in a cage at your place, you'll identify with this. I don't but it still makes sense. If you have a lion in a cage, and the neighbors come by and taunt it, poke at it with sticks, call it a liberal, you know .. just be mean to it ... how would you defend it? Fences? Isolation? Armed guards? ASPCA? PETA?
Hire Ben Cole?
Answer: You wouldn't. You'd just open the cage and let the lion out. Turn Him loose. Lions are perfectly capable of defending themselves.
Well .. how do you turn the Lion of the Tribe of Judah loose? Simple. You respond to those who would do Him harm, the same way the Lion would. With love. With kindness. Meekness. Certainly there were times He showed real strength, but normally He was strong, courteous, and loving.
Aha ... you're thinking about the profaners of His Father's house, or maybe His reference to Pharisees as a nest of snakes. Or freshly-painted tombs. That's probably because we read into what HE said, the emotions WE would have, if we ever went far enough over the top to actually SAY what we THINK about folks we see as their modern-day equivalent. But maybe ... just maybe ... those reactions on our part are the pressure of sin in our lives, overcoming the pressure of Jesus in our souls.
See .. Jesus was not under any constraints as to what He saw to be His duty. He simply did the right thing, all the time, every time. I've seen lots of people selling their wares in the church, before & after services, which was when the moneychangers and dove-sellers were plying their trades, and they were selling something the worshipers HAD TO have for their worship. I don't HAVE TO have that CD or book on the table in the lobby for what I'm going to do in the sanctuary, but it's OK with us for them to sell the stuff anyway. Well, I don't buy it.
Nor do I buy the conventional wisdom that says the issue was inflated pricing practices of the merchants. Jesus interaction with the folks who set up shop in the lobby:
"So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" (John 2:15-16 NIV)
That word "market" is the word from which we get "emporium" [HT: Strong's] so apparently Jesus objected to their selling merchandise in the church; even things the worshipers needed for their worship. Yet it's fine with us, even with things we DON'T need for worship.
(Sorry ... chased a rabbit there ... didn't mean to.)
Maybe the pressure of pleasing people, making it "convenient" to buy stuff, exceeds that pressure of Jesus' stated thoughts on the matter.
BACK TO TANKS:
If the pressure of the Holy Ghost in us, is higher than the pressure of the world around us, then our faith ought to leak out. It ought to permeate all we do and say.
David said it thusly:
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
The word "acknowledge" seems to be "yada", or to know, to ascertain by seeing. Wow, that's a tall order. But we ARE supposed to be able to do that, which would require obedience and perceptiveness. And I think it's going to be tough seeing Him in all our ways, when we're not acting in a manner typical of Him.
Now, if the pressure of the world is greater than the pressure of the Holy Ghost within us, then the world is going to leak in. And stop the outflow of the Holy Ghost. That oughtn't to happen. Ever. If so, and something DOES leak out, then, it's apt to be tainted by as much of the world as leaked in. And it doesn't take much.
Flashback Alert: I recall waking up November 1, 1963, hearing a radio newscaster reading a long list of names. After a couple minutes, he announced that these were the known dead in an explosion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum the previous evening. 74 people were killed, including some acquaintances, and what really piqued my interest was that I had the insurance policy files on my desk at the time (I was an underwriter for the Insurance Company that handled their insurance). That became a very, very famous case in insurance annals, so I'm well familiar with the effects of accidental leakage in the wrong place.
I think Jesus' faith was unparalleled in human history. That simple fact leads me to believe that His faith was constantly visible, permeating every action, every thought, every spoken word. Even the tough ones spoken to the unwilling. If we don't see that, I think it's because we attribute to HIM, the sinful reactions of US.
So. What's my task? Simple. Fix the rust so nothing that comes out is accidental, and then open up the valves, like maybe a wineskin, and let the contents out.
We ARE vessels of the Holy Ghost, right?