It was almost time for the Jewish Passover and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts, He found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the merchants and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves, He said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:13-17
The image of Jesus that many of have grown up with is of a gentleman with a serene, inscrutable countenance and a wistful, faraway look in his eyes. He is usually very well-groomed, with neat wavy hair and impressively white, clean clothes. In this passage, however, we see a Jesus that doesn’t fit in with that image. Here Jesus is clearly fired up. He is angry with the people who are desecrating the temple.
The picture of Jesus often portrayed in traditional, religious art, or often taught about in church is a caricature which exaggerates two of Jesus qualities (meekness & mildness) while ignoring many others. Jesus was on a divine, world-changing mission of global redemption. He was zealous and focused on finishing the work He had come to do. He was tough and resilient. He endured much pain, humiliation, insults, rejection, misunderstandings, and suffering for the sake of His mission.
Jesus was tremendously kind and gracious to most people, especially the oppressed, poor, the sick, and the needy. Jesus was not always nice or polite to some people. He denounced the hypocritical religious leaders who stubbornly refused to believe Jesus’ true identity as Messiah, and who were burdening the people with unnecessary religious rules.
While we are called to be loving, kind, and gentle, we are also called to be strong and courageous. Allowing unbelief, ignorance, injustice, and evil to go unchecked, where we can make a difference, is not love.
Not only did Jesus’ act of clearing the temple reveal His passion for the things of God, but it also revealed His authority. Jesus’ act in cleansing the temple gave precedence to His authority as the representative of God.
• Pray for the passion of God’s heart to be your passion.