When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.
Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me.” John 2:13-17 (MSG)
Still in the second chapter, John shares a third attribute of Jesus—His passion. John began with Jesus’ glory. John then introduces you to the Jesus who is powerful and able to meet your needs, but approachable enough to invite to your party.
A Passionate Jesus
Today, you meet the passionate Jesus.
Passover is the highest of Holy Days. Jewish people flocked to the temple to celebrate the night when the angel passed over the homes of the Israelite slaves with lamb’s blood on the doorpost, but killed the first born of the Egyptians. Passover is a celebration of God’s faithfulness, protection and promise. Passover was a time for sacrifice. If you didn’t have your own animal, you could purchase one at the temple.
Jesus arrived at the temple to find the religious people exploiting the poor. Instead of selling sacrificial animals for the usual pittance, the religious and loan sharks inflated the prices taking advantage of everyone, especially the poor. The outrageous prices prevented some from coming to God.
As Jesus entered the temple, He noticed those exploiting the poor. Jesus wasn’t upset that sacrifices were being sold, that activity was normal. Jesus was upset because the unfair prices excluded some from participating in worship. Individuals were profiting financially while others were suffering spiritually.
Understanding His Character
That’s when Jesus snapped.
If you have a misty, soft focus image of Jesus in your mind—if you see Jesus as a puny weakling walking around quoting scripture, re-read this passage. Jesus was a carpenter by trade. That is not light or easy work. There were no home improvement stores in Nazareth. A carpenter had to obtain his own wood before the carpentry began; Jesus was a strong man. Jesus picked as His closest friends, fishermen—big, tough, rough-and-tumble fishermen. Fishermen would not have given a 95-pound weakling a second look, let alone drop their nets at the command, “Follow Me.” Jesus, after a deforming beating, carried a cross that weighed well over 200 pounds, uphill. Jesus, with a makeshift whip, cleared out the temple at the busiest time of the year. The temple yard was undoubtedly packed with thousands of people and farm animals.
Jesus was a formidable man.
Add to His physical strength His passion.
Notice His focus. Jesus’ concern was His Father’s house, God’s reputation, God’s holiness.
The Gospel accounts offer insight into Jesus’ human interactions. During the three years of His earthly ministry, Jesus bears many sharp insults without an outward reaction. Jesus weeps as He looks at the people He came to save react with disregard. Jesus acts in love to those in need.
A Passion for Men
Why did this disregard for God’s holiness stir up such a response from Jesus?
Without an understanding of God’s holiness, one will never come to an understanding of his or her need of God’s grace. Repentance of sin is born out of the realization that God is holy, you are not and you need a savior.
Jesus’ passion is connecting God and man. His passion cost Him His life—and purchased yours.
Father help me take Your holiness seriously. Thank You for making a way to have a relationship with You. I will let Jesus’ passion be my own. God, let Your holiness consume me.