The lectionary makes a huge leap between Sunday Gospel readings this week, moving from Luke 19.10 all the way to Luke 20.27. A few parables are missed along the way that get treated in their parallel version when the lectionary has us reading through Matthew.
But Jesus' weeping over Jerusalem and then cleansing the Temple never get used, as best I can tell, in our cycle of readings from the Revised Common Lectionary.
As we get ready for the election next week (any one else ready for it to be over!?), these left-out sections seem quite important indeed. Jesus invites us to recognize the things that lead to peace. He cleanses even the temple, which is supposed to be clean and sacred. And he instructs his disciples to participate responsibly in civil government (even if that means paying taxes to the brutal Roman Empire!).
May we too be about the business to seeing what things make for peace and being responsible members of our society in our own day.
Luke 19:41-48, 20:20-26
Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem
As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.’
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, ‘It is written,
“My house shall be a house of prayer”;
but you have made it a den of robbers.’
Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.
The Question about Paying Taxes
So they watched him and sent spies who pretended to be honest, in order to trap him by what he said, so as to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor. So they asked him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth.Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But he perceived their craftiness and said to them, ‘Show me a denarius. Whose head and whose title does it bear?’ They said, ‘The emperor’s.’ He said to them, ‘Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they were not able in the presence of the people to trap him by what he said; and being amazed by his answer, they became silent.