Readings for the 3rd Sunday in Lent

John 2:13-25; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Exodus 20:1-17

     Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was a world-famous mathematician and astronomer who discovered the laws of planetary motion. That’s intelligence! As it happens, Kepler was also a Lutheran theologian. About his accomplishments, he later wrote: “I was merely thinking God’s thoughts after him.” That’s wisdom!

     The apostle Paul contrasts the wisdom of God with the wisdom of man. At its best, human wisdom humbly seeks to understand what God already knows. At its worst, it becomes a foolish projection of our own desires for how we wish the world would be if God were not in charge. The one who is truly wise, Paul says, will boast not in himself but in Christ from whom all good things come (1 Cor 1).

     The Ten Commandments are God’s wisdom handed down to mankind. They were not intended to be joy-stealing prohibitions, but rather a recipe for human flourishing in community. They are designed to enhance our joy in relationship with our Creator and with one another. They also reveal how foolish we can be (Ex 20).

     In the Gospel reading, Jesus condemns those who have turned God’s house into a place of loveless profit. When asked what gave him the right to level such a charge, Jesus pointed to his coming resurrection from the dead – proof enough that he is God’s only beloved Son and our only Savior (Jn 2).