Jesus Clears the Temple
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.
I struggle with anger. I do not need professional counseling or incarceration. I am not actively destroying property or abusing people. I simply struggle. I grew up with a father who conditioned me over time to believe that the “appropriate” response in tedious or trying situations is to blow your top, if only for a few seconds. It rarely ends well, and it usually costs me time, money, and humiliation.
I’ve always been mildly troubled by Jesus’ anger in the temple courts. He blew his top! This was not the meek, mild Sunday School Jesus whose portrait hung on the wall. Reconciling an angry Jesus is difficult for me. The anger I observed in my father was what my mother termed inappropriate and immature. So, I struggle with anger.
How do I reconcile Jesus’ anger and actions in my mind and heart? I have a cerebral understanding that there is an appropriate righteous anger as spoken of in Scripture and displayed by Christ in this passage. I wrestle with this. How can I harness my anger and yet express it “righteously?”
I look to Jesus for clarity. In this passage, Jesus is making a stand for all things holy. He was trying to impress upon people the holiness of God and his temple. His anger was just and flawlessly righteous. The temple encounter gives us a small insight into the mind of God. God is jealous for righteousness and is incensed when sinful men trample on his holiness.
How do I follow Christ’s lead? I desire to be the one who stands “white hot” for God in the face of the unrighteous. As Christ-followers, we’re totally appropriate getting upset over our own sin. Evils should incense us. This side of heaven, I suppose I will continue to struggle with righteous anger as well as fear and doubt. I will continue to thank God for his grace and mercy, even as I defile his temple and use him for personal worldly gain.
For this, Christ was born. For this, Christ was crucified. For this, Christ rose from the grave.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What did you learn about anger when you were a child? How have your views of anger changed over time? How do you reconcile Jesus’ anger and actions in your mind and heart?
PRAYER: Jesus, help me know what you deem holy. Help me to take a bold stand for those things. Help me to be slow to anger. Continue to reveal yourself to me in ways that grow me. Forgive me when I defile your temple in my daily actions. Bless those who make a stand for righteousness. Amen.