Grace for the Day: Jesus was consumed with anger

You have possibly heard about the time Jesus “cleansed” the Temple. This happened during the last week before his crucifixion. He knew that returning to Jerusalem would be his swan song. 

He visited the Temple and found money changers and sellers of sacrificial animals. The commercial atmosphere must have been similar to a fair or a flea market. Jesus became incensed at the spectacle. Some have speculated that he was responding to cheating that was going on in the buying and selling, but John quoted Jesus as being angry because they had made the Temple into a place of business (merchandise). 

John also reported that Jesus made a scourge (whip) of cords (rope bound together). He further testified that Jesus drove all of the people, the sheep, and the oxen out of the Temple courts, overthrew the moneychanger’s tables and the chairs of those who were selling doves. Please try to envision this in your mind. 

The Temple court was huge, and as the center of Jewish culture and worship, there were usually hundreds if not thousands of people coming and going. The city was swelling because of the Passover, and Pilate and his troops had come to town to make sure that there was no insurrection. There was electricity in the air as Jesus had just made his “triumphal entry.” Then he went to the Temple.     

People must have thought he was a mad man. As the Scriptures had predicted about this very incident, “Zeal for they house will consume me.” Jesus was a man consumed. He took the time to fashion a scourge (foreshadowing one that would be used on him after his trial), kicked tables and chairs over and chased everyone and everything out of the courtyard (no one but the priests actually entered the Temple itself). He thoroughly “cleansed” (washed) the Temple court. 

He had to be shouting to have been heard by all of those people. It is difficult for us to envision Jesus being consumed by his zeal (anger) to protect the house of God. It is difficult to imagine him shouting, turning over tables and kicking over chairs. He probably appeared to be out of control, because if we saw a person going off like that at a fair or festival we would think he was psychotic or off his medication. We too would avoid him. People don’t act that way in civil company. 

These were not pagans he was chasing; they were God’s chosen people. They did not understand his zeal, but it frightened them. It is hard for us to envision Jesus frightening anyone. It is important that we do so because this cleansing was a preview of his return.     

At the second coming Jesus will be “revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess. 1:7, 8). That same return is described in the Book of Revelation with these words: “And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Rev. 19:15, 16)." 

How often do you experience Jesus being presented this way in modern thinking and even preaching? If we underestimate the severity of Jesus against those who remain outside of his grace, we will then lose our sense of urgency concerning the eternal security of our souls and of those of our friends, families, and neighbors. Jesus is a lamb to those who abide in him, but a lion to those who oppose him.

Stephen Parker has more than 25 years of experience as a minister and as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Reach Parker at fam4evr@sbcglobal.net.

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