Table Flippin' Jesus
Updated: Feb 6, 2021
By Zac George:
A lot of us, as Christians or non Christians, have a hard time identifying with Jesus on a regular basis. He lived a perfect life without sin, he healed people, he was just all around everything we hope to be but know we really can’t be.
But Christians LOVE Table Flippin’ Jesus!
As a pastor, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I just felt really moved to love my enemy” following the example of Jesus.
But I couldn’t even count the number of times Christians, particularly in America, have felt moved to act like Table Flippin’ Jesus.
Why is this?
Well, because anger is easy for us.
Anger is a shallow emotion, easy to tap into, easy to feel, and for men in our culture in particular, one that we are supposed to feel regularly.
Anger itself isn’t wrong, obviously it is a God-given emotion.
Table Flippin’ Jesus was expressing “righteous anger.”
So, as American Christians who are trying to follow the example of Jesus, this is the example I hear used the most often.
We feel righteous in our anger toward those who we deem as against us, and if they are against us, then they are against God.
Those who don’t share our political ideology, those who don’t share our religious ideology or doctrine, you get Table Flippin’ Jesus.
We remember Jesus’ harsh words, “brood of Vipers”, “den of thieves”, “white washed tombs”, “hypocrites”, “woe to you”.
These words roll easily off of our tongues when we lash out at those who are against us; those who don’t believe like us, or practice our religion.
We can’t wait to flip the tables of the other political side, the ungodly, the immoral, the corrupt, the dishonest, the indecent, the vile and villainous, the….sinner.
But let us think for a moment about the harsh words of Jesus. Who did he say them to?
Where was he when he flipped the table?
He was in the Temple.
The harsh words of Jesus were most often used towards the “religious elite”. The Pharisees, the religious leaders and teachers of religious law.
To put it simply, Jesus harshest words were reserved for “church folk.”
But surely the Jesus we worship berated sinners? Surely he shared his righteous anger with them at their immoral behavior?
Remember the story of the woman caught in adultery?
There the “religious elite” stood, stones in hand, ready to execute this woman as was their right by religious law.
Jesus, after dispensing with the religious leaders with some clever words, looks at this woman and says, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord” the woman said….
“Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Jesus had every right to condemn her. He had gotten rid of her accusers by saying that the one without sin could, in fact, stone her.
Yet, he was the only one to which that applied, and he said “I don’t condemn you.”
He also didn’t just let her off the hook, he wanted her to go and live better, but she could only hear this from him after experiencing his grace FIRST.
So often, as Christians today, we save our harshest words for those that aren’t Christian, or for those we deem to be un-Christian.
This is not the way of Jesus.
I believe that, sometimes, the way I act and feel towards those who don’t believe like me would likely lead me to have an encounter with Table Flippin’ Jesus.
Just as surely he would tell the ones that I’ve condemned, that he doesn’t condemn them at all.
So, as we move forward, in this tumultuous time. A time of fear, and division, and disagreement let us remember our words and use them carefully; giving grace before condemnation, remembering that not everyone is going to believe like me or act like me.
Let us remember that those who don’t believe in God, shouldn’t be expected to act like those of us who do.
Christians, let us not use our harshest words towards non-Christians.
Let us not yell, and threaten, and berate those who we deem our “enemies” while wearing a “what would Jesus do” bracelet.
It is our job to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world that we live in.
There may be a time or need for the Table Flippin’ hands of Jesus, but let us not forget his immense grace given to the sinners, the marginalized, the non-religious, and to us.
Lest we want our own tables flipped.