Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Mark 11:27-33 and Psalm 25:1-9
Jesus pulls no punches when going after the Pharisees. The day before this takes place, Jesus was in the temple and became angry at all of the traders and moneychangers. He took a whip and started flipping tables, beating people, and driving them out. “My house shall be a house of prayer!” he roared. “You’ve gone and made it a den of thieves!” He wasn’t exactly meek and mild at that moment.
The Pharisees were not too pleased with all this. They came to him the next morning and demanded to know by whose authority he had done this. But Jesus was too smart to be caught in their trap. “Let me ask you a question first. By whose authority did John baptize?” Having been caught in their own trap, the Pharisees had to withdraw. “We don’t know.” Jesus’ response probably was quietly spoken: “Then I’m not answering your question.”
Sometimes Jesus comes in and cleans house. Sometimes he gets rather violent with it, flipping our tables, hitting us with a whip, driving us out. Sometimes he has to do drastic things in order to get our attention. Jesus knows that sometimes we have to have our cage rattled in order to see how deeply we’ve messed up. But then we demand to know why he’s done it.
Sometimes Jesus shakes up the status quo. He doesn’t have to answer to us, because he is the king. He doesn’t have to explain himself to us. But he does it, not out of hatred or vindictiveness, but out of his extreme love for us. Sometimes he has to pull our chains before we’ll listen to him.