13 It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.14 He found in the temple those who were selling cattle, sheep, and doves, as well as those involved in exchanging currency sitting there. 15 He made a whip from ropes and chased them all out of the temple, including the cattle and the sheep. He scattered the coins and overturned the tables of those who exchanged currency. 16 He said to the dove sellers, “Get these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a place of business.” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written, Passion for your house consumes me.
John 2:13-17 CEB
“[F]or zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.” (Psalm 69:9)
Picture the Jesus you know or have heard about. Was he kind, gentle, caring, mild mannered? What did he look like? What did he do?
This scripture from John shows a Jesus that probably makes us uncomfortable. Jesus enters the temple court. He finds people selling animals and exchanging money. Our sweet, mild mannered Jesus makes a whip, driving out animals and turning over tables. He’s angry and upset. How many times have you been angry and upset? How does being angry make you feel? I feel guilt and shame. Jesus came to remove that from our lives, because we’re human and the flesh causes us to feel anger, guilt and shame. So what’s the scandal? We refuse to acknowledge that Jesus, divine, but fully human experiences anger, but THIS anger is righteous anger. Jesus is not angry because someone broke his toy. He is angry because God is angry. This is the Psalm 69:9 Jesus. This is God the divine residing in the human Jesus. This zealous Jesus is the example of how to handle ourselves in passion, emotional anger inducing situations. It is the litmus test in our anger: is this what makes me angry or what makes God angry. I am a nurse. I work with children. I see abuse and neglect. It makes me angry. It breaks God’s heart. I feel no guilt for being angry about this.
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Heavenly Father, break my heart for what breaks yours. Remind me that what insults you insults me. Give me the zeal to use my anger in a righteous manner.
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Stephanie is an ordinary person, family member, and nurse. For 20 years she was an active member of Amnesty International.