Passionate and Protective
This wasn’t Jesus’ first time at the temple. His parents accidentally left Him there once when He was a boy, and He had taught there at times during His ministry. But this visit was different. This time He surprised a temple audience with more than His words. This time He grew fiercely angry at the activities in the courtyard.
Fierce anger isn’t what we expect from Jesus. But God is passionate about His people, and His people were at the mercy of mercenaries at the temple. That had to stop. So Jesus turned tables, drove out the profiteers, and quoted phrases from the prophets to prove His point. God’s temple is a place of prayer for the nations, not a business venture.
This event clearly teaches us that God opposes deception and greed, but there’s a much deeper message in it. The intensity of Jesus’ reaction reflects the heart of the Father for His people. The passion He demonstrated at the temple wasn’t about the building; it was about the worshipers who have gathered and, on a larger scale, the nations represented by them. Apparently, God isn’t just mildly interested in the hearts of human beings. He’s fiercely protective of them. He’s zealous for our worship and jealous for our love.
When Solomon dedicated the first temple in Jerusalem, priests fell on their faces as God powerfully filled the building with His presence. The building was holy ground, a place of purity and prayer. Centuries later when Jesus overthrew the moneychangers’ tables, He demonstrated God’s intense passion for this same holy ground. But what now? Worshipers no longer gather at a temple in Jerusalem. Where does God direct His passion?
To us. In the New Testament, God’s people become the temple of His presence. The building gives way to the body. If Jesus could be so profoundly provoked over a stone temple, how much more fervent is He about His body of believers? The purity and prayerfulness of His dwelling place deeply matter to Him. He enters our hearts with zeal to drive out unholy influences and make us His own.
– Chris Tiegreen