*** TRIGGER WARNING: swear words…
Someone is bound to say, “But the things Jesus called the religious back then had theological significance!” Yes they did.
“Brood of vipers” meant that if you, for any reason, fell into their nest, they will eventually poison you to death with their religion.
“Den of thieves” meant that they are going to take your money in deceptive ways.
“Children of the devil” meant that even though they might think they are sincere, they in fact will destroy you.
“Whitewashed tombs” meant that even though they might look good on the outside, on the inside they are rotten.
I believe that Jesus was insulting these people and did so in an attempt to open their eyes to what they were doing. It was his attempt at issuing a wakeup call to these arrogant, destructive people. I also think he was issuing a clear warning to those around about what these people are really made of. As well, I think he was just expressing his dismay and frustration with such willfully blind religious people who were hurting others left right and center.
But I would argue my version of what Jesus would say is just as valid today and has theological significance!
“Fucking” means that they are raping people, up the ass, and doing it for their own pleasure and enjoyment. They’re taking advantage by getting themselves off on others.
“Assholes” means that nothing but shit comes out of their mouths. Plus they stink.
The finger is Jesus prophetic gesture that they’re going to get what’s coming to them and it’s not going to feel very good.
Getting angry and expressing it hasn’t been encouraged by the church. But more and more people don’t care anymore and they’re letting it out.
I think it’s a good thing.
I personally invite you to join The Lasting Supper, a growing community of people who are learning how to walk out of toxic religion together in healthy ways.