Think You Know What it Means to Turn the Tables? Think Again.

Margaret —  March 24, 2014 — 11 Comments

Think You Know What it Means to Turn the Tables? Think Again.

Sometimes people just don’t get it. They don’t get you.

They don’t have a clue what it’s like to be you. They’ve misjudged you. They shortchanged you. If the tables were turned, if they could glimpse things from your perspective, perhaps things would be different.

When you think of all the people in your life, who would you most like to turn the tables on?

Jesus slips into the temple unnoticed. People are busy selling their wares—oxen, sheep, doves, and exchanging money. The practices aren’t unusual; in fact, the pilgrims needed them. Temple practices required animals for sacrifice and it was impractical to insist on people travelling long distances with a few ox in tow.

Plus, the required temple tax needed to be paid in the local currency. Many of the travelers were probably appreciative of the services offered. Those involved probably didn’t set out to exploit or impede worship; they simply adapted practical responses. In the process, they began looking away from the possibility that corruption could slide the temple.

Jesus had a different response. In John 2:13-22, he:

Grabs cords.

Weaves a whip.

Scatters workers.

Flips tables.

It’s worth noting that John’s Gospel isn’t written to provide a chronological account of Jesus’ life as much as proclaim the life and ministry of Christ and invite people to believe in him. While the other Gospels feature the story of Jesus overturning the tables at the close of Jesus’ ministry, John places it at the beginning.

John wants us to sense unease right from the start of the Gospel.

He wants to remind us that we might have more in common with the targets of Jesus’ judgment than we first thought. Though we want to be counted among the righteous ones, John’s Gospel challenges us to consider how often we’re the ones cutting corners, compromising.

Jesus speaks to those in the temple and He also speaks to us. In humility. In prayer. In Scripture. In community. We begin to discover that rather than try to turn the tables on someone else, the first tables we overturn must be our own. [Tweet this]

Think You Know What it Means to Turn the Tables? Think Again.

Take time today to prayerfully consider your motives:

Where has compromise slipped into your life?

What concessions have you given into that are robbing you of the abundant life?

What is that thing you once promised “you’d never do” but now you’ve justified?

Through humility and repentance, may we turn the tables in our own hearts and prepare the way for more of Christ in our lives.


Think You Know What it Means to Turn the Tables? Think Again.I want to know what you’re learning during the #LentChallenge. What is Jesus revealing to your heart? What passage or verse is sticking out to you? What questions do you have about this passage?

(If you haven’t joined into the #LentChallenge yet, it’s not too late. There’s plenty of room for you. Download the free reading guide, here. Or sign up for the free reading plan on YouVersion, here).

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11 responses to Think You Know What it Means to Turn the Tables? Think Again.

  1. Has anyone else fell behind in their reading plan? I’m like, 5, days behind now. Should I stress out and try to speed read through what I missed, or just pick back up with today’s reading?

    • You ARE NOT alone! My suggestion– keep reading from where you left off. Utilize your Sundays. Read both in the morning and before bed. Turn on the audio Bible in the car as you drive (YouVersion has a really easy way of listening to the Bible).

      I’m posting on this EXACT thing on Wednesday. YOU CAN DO IT.

    • mongupp (@mongupp) March 24, 2014 at 11:58 am

      Just go at your own pace. Dont stress. My daughter and I are still in Luke.
      I love how Jesus compared the 2 praying people. The humble man who confessed he was a sinner versus the man who thanked God that he didnt sin like everybody else. I pray the folks at Westboro Baptist “Church” will read that. They preach hate!

  2. I’ve been a Christian since the age of 13 and yet only a true and developing follower of Christ for the last 14 years. In the last few years, I’ve felt the tug and pull towards writing and ministry, etc and this is how I found this ministry–and I’m grateful. This season of lent is the first time I’ve ever attempted to read the NT straight through and I’m stunned anew by familiar things and comforted deeply by the story and lineage we’ve been given to cherish through God’s word. Thank you for being our flagship on this one. It was this same passage that struck me so profoundly this morning (yes, I’m behind! 🙂 ) because I realize that the temple of “now” is within us and OH, how those tables have rightly been “turned” in my lifetime. I am so blessed and thankful.

    • Don’t you love how God makes certain words and passages pop out and grab our attention? No matter how many times we read. Wonderstruck, indeed! Thanks for sharing, Lorretta!

  3. Christine/WarriorforChrist March 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    AMEN to your post, Margaret! While reading the NT during this time period, I want it to be a time to get rid of a lot of the garbage that has accumulated. I’m also doing a physical cleanse, too, which is only 12 days, using Garden of Life’s Wild Rose D-Tox. (Great stuff) As we are now clearly in the end times, doing a core dump of the garbage is essential, so that we can be like the wise virgins who trimmed their wicks and were ready for the Bridegroom.

  4. One area that I compromised on Sunday mornings when my youngest son’s team has training from 8-9am (not every Sun). On those Sundays, it has become too easy not to go to Church due to the time. That will change!

    I have always loved the story Mark 5:24-34 (Bleeding Woman). Mark version speaks to me because it says she ‘told him the whole truth’. Jesus took his time and listened to her when no one else would. Also, for me not having parents; it is good to know I do belong as His daughter!

  5. I haven’t been able to shake the few times in John 13 where it’s says: He knew…
    Jesus knew what was coming, the hour had come, the plan of God was coming to fruition. He knew…
    YET He did not compromise…Lord give me the strength!

  6. Girlfriend, PLEASE keep going! Oh it gets better, sweeter and even more wonderful! No, don’t stop. The devil wants you to stop..Kick him in the back side and keep on reading! Oh it gets good let me tell you!

    I’m like a little kid in the candy store…I just can’t get enough..Seriously! Oh how sweet this journey is! Today I got compltely blown away in the later Chapters of John and then again in Acts…

    Please keep going! As in the words of our sweet, precious, and beautiful leader Margaret Feinberg, I double dog dare you to keep going!

    Praising God!

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