This Sunday in Lent gives us the Ten Commandments as written in Exodus 20. It is easy to see that the “weight” or emphasis is on the first three commandments that address our relationship to God. God is “jealous” and will tolerate no “rivals” nor the misuse of God’s name. From there, the commands call us to participate in the renewing rest of God (Sabbath) and in constructive relationships with family and neighbor. When we worship and rely on God, not human individuality, possessions or power, we can live rightly with others.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus goes up to the temple in Jerusalem, the place that signifies the dwelling of God in the midst of the people. Jesus is “jealous” for his Father’s house, which is being abused for the sake of human agendas. John tells us that Jesus points to a new place of God’s presence – his own risen body – that is to come after his death.
Referring to the cross of Christ, Paul talks to the Corinthians with a paradox: the power and wisdom of God appears weak and foolish to people. Yet the followers of a rejected Savior find the power and wisdom of God in this crucified and risen Lord.
Comment: Human jealousy is destructive, seeking to possess another person exclusively for ourselves. In a sense, we are putting too much “weight” on a single human relationship. No one can be everything to us! In contrast, God’s jealousy is true and saving: in God alone can we find lasting life and peace that is present in no other thing or person. God rightly wants me to place him – and God’s Son by whom I really can know and belong to God – above and before all others. May I think of myself today as belonging wholly to God. God has an absolute claim upon me, a claim spoken in Jesus Christ. May I see the people upon whom I place the greatest expectations as people who also belong to God much more so than they belong to me, freeing me to love them for God’s sake and not my own!