By: Michael Han
When the Master entered the whole city, it was stirred and one of them asked, “Who is this?” The crowd replied and affirmed his identity and birth place. The Master then entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there.
Before that, he saw many who were peddling their self-made brands, feel-good gospel songs and heretic teachings.
At one corner, the religious merchants were busy promoting themselves. They were dressed in their finest flannel grey suit and black tie, boasting to the crowd how they were highly favoured and blessed. They were loose with their tongues, quick to tout to the hungry patrons one scriptural promise after another, bending each one of them to suit their own purpose.
Without shame, reflection and humility, these millionaire preachers in the temple courts fashioned God in their own image, each of them claiming spiritual authority and gnostic knowledge on the interpretation of the gospel. In the marketplace of competitive beliefs, many were speaking in their Master’s name as a front to promote themselves. They lifted Him high in order to lift themselves even higher.
One preacher claimed to be the exclusive channel chosen for performing miracles. He spoke ceaselessly about his decades of success leading the healing ministry, which has expanded internationally. He enticed with the gospel of “miracle seeds” as the carrot of hope in return for the emptying of pockets and bank accounts. He strung out one testimony after another that seemed to testify to what he alone can do more than what he can do as a humble vessel for his Master’s use. He enthralled the crowd with the laying of hands to deliver the physically afflicted. However, most of these claims of healing went unverified and his victims often returned time and time again because they were enslaved to false hope propagated on stage and not delivered and free from it.
In anger, the Master overturned their tables.
Another booth at the temple courts was pulling in the crowd like starstruck lemmings. But it did not escape the Master’s eye. The setting was dimmed for effects and the stage was big enough for singers and dancers of sparing attire to sway and gyrate to the mesmerized crowd.
When the preacher came in, the Master glared in disbelief. She was immodestly covered. She projected an unwholesome image. She was playing a role no different from a harlot. But yet, the crowd went wild, extending their hands and giving of their money to the seedy preacher for reasons that the Master could not comprehend.
At this time, the Master reacted and stormed the stage, rebuked the people and overturned their tables too.
And there was yet another religious trader whom the Master also confronted. He was to be the last before the Master thrashed the place completely. This ingenious marketeer was charming and spoke with eloquence and confidence. They all usually are. They are like magnets to draw in the crowd and honey to milk them for all their worth.
The Master noticed that this preacher was clad in leather and tight jeans and he had sprinkled stardust in his well-groomed coiffure. “What are you selling to my people?” the Master demanded. “Sir,” came the trembling reply, “this is what you have been preaching all along. It’s the gospel of superior love. It is a love that resigns all believers to just sit still and receive. Nothing is expected of them. It’s a love that drives them to insuperable gratitude. It is the gospel of radical grace. I am starting a revolution here sir.”
The Master then pointed to the books on display and said, “And these books that you charge a price for speak about this revolution that you are now promoting?” He nodded frantically. “Yes sir, many have been touched by the message. It is transforming lives, changing hearts. It’s all inside my books. Testimonies after testimonies thanking my ministry. They are even coming in busloads, snapping up my books, and attending my talks about you. I have become a resounding success and an all-time bestseller because of you. I even have a worldwide television ministry seen by tens of thousands!”
By this time, he thought he was buttering up the bait for the final bite. But the Master would have none of it and said, “Well, you don’t need to thank me for that. You’ve created your own success. Your fame is yours to keep, not mine.”
Then, the Master turned to the other merchandise on the table, that is, the bundled CDs, DVD albums, daily devotions and online sermonettes, and asked sternly, “And all these are for sale too?”
“Yes sir,” he said, excitedly. “They come in various prices, $29.90, $119.90 and $350.00. It’s to give your people variety sir. All of them sold at an affordable price, at your people’s convenience. I have condensed your Word for them into portable sound bites and your people have the option to go straight to them if they need to know your Word. It’s all at their fingertip sir. Forget about bulky pulp paper that runs into thousands of pages. I am moving with the time sir. I call it faith in the Marketplace, and I am not even collecting a monthly stipend from the church for all this. ”
The Master squirmed with disgust and said, “More like self-profit in the Marketplace, and you have enlarged your estate enough.” With that, the Master readily overturned his table.
That day, many tables of false teachings and self-serving prosperity gospel were overturned. While the lost and poor struggled outside the temple courts, the touters of His Word flourished within at the people’s expense.
These preachers may have been selling different gospels to the people, but they all shared one common factor. They were all incredibly wealthy. They had funds rushing into their personal coffers like a broken dam in no need for repairs anytime soon.
They had money, millions even, kept in a locked vault under their unfettered control, which they had spared only token sums to help the needy, the poor and the hungry. They lived in mansions on earth and traveled with class and extravagance and with an entourage, that is, a cabal of bodyguards. Some even owned private jets to chauffeur them around the world to thousands of fans dying to receive them with unquestioned adoration and cash offering in their hands.
Alas, they have created for themselves heaven on earth and have sadly sworn allegiance to two masters and not one. What is even worse is this, they have at some point in their faith conveniently used the name of one to serve and pay homage to the other. As to which master they are beholden to, your guess is as good as mine.
After all the tables were turned, the Master left with these parting words: “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers. ”
Republished from the blog ‘spittle-splat‘.