I learned to make a rat tail whip out of a towel at camp. Some older kids taught me when I was a camper and I’ve taught some students myself, although I admit to slowing down (or wising up) in recent years. Most people have snapped a towel at someone else. When a towel is folded the right way and then rolled tightly with the bulk of the towel at one end and just a small tip of the towel at the other it becomes a weapon. This whip makes a loud snap when used properly and it can split wood and break the skin. The snap from a whip comes because the tip actually moves faster than the speed of sound and it produces a small sonic boom. I’ve been in a few towel fights at camp, often as the only person with a rat tail whip. There was no contest. Everyone rightly fears and runs from that whip or quickly learns why they should have.image.png

A rat tail whip is the only kind I’ve ever fashioned. I thought of it after reading that Jesus fashioned a whip to use in cleansing the temple

And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:15-17

Jesus fashioned “a whip of cords.” This is a small line of text but I imagine that it took some time for the task. What was Jesus thinking while he worked? Was there a smile on his face as he imagined how the merchants or the religious leaders at the temple would react? Was he savoring what he was about to do or was there sadness or fear at the approaching confrontation?

This event is often described as Jesus’ display of righteous anger, but anger isn’t mentioned in the passage. The Greek word translated zeal in verse 17 is used in 8 places in the NT; 3 times as zeal (John 2:17, 1 Cor 9:2, 2 Cor 9:2) 4 times as jealousy (1 Cor 3:3, 2 Cor 12:20, James 3:16) and once to describe a raging or furious fire (Heb 10:27.) Ask God to show you how to passionately and jealousy rage for God’s truth when people around you settle for profit or perceived propriety.

John Riley
Jr. High Pastor

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