John 2:13-22

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. John 2:13-22

A friend sent me a text early yesterday morning, troubled at the idea that Jesus could or would express anger. That got me thinking.

Clearly, in this passage, Jesus is angry. You could call it “zeal” or just being royally raging, Jesus is clearly angry. So the quick answer is “yes, Jesus not only could but also would act out of anger.”

But that isn’t the real question. The real question is – Why ought it trouble us to imagine an angry Jesus? Do we have some sort of ethereal “guru floating six inches off the ground” idea of Jesus that would seem to be above such an unseemly human emotion? Or do we have a problem reconciling our own anger and the impacts, often negative, it brings to our lives and to those around us?

I’m no counselor or therapist. I’m no expert on feelings and emotions. Yet it seems to me that there is a godly purpose to all of our feelings and emotions. They all have something to teach us. Most importantly, our feelings are first rooted in our belief system. We believe something…which leads us to act in certain ways…which results in feelings about our actions. What we believe – about life, about the world, about God – always precedes our feelings, not the other way around.

Jesus believed the temple was truly to be a house of prayer for all people. A place of healing, of centeredness, of connectedness with God and others. A place to help all of the other places in our lives make sense. That was the original idea and it never changed – even though it was co-opted by national pride, priestly greed, Roman dominance, and pagan idolatry. That it had turned into a tourist attraction, an economic engine, an abuser of the poor, absolutely pissed Jesus off! And it should have!

Even more, it should make us just as angry if we see the Church backsliding into that same old worldly value system, leaving the poor behind.

Yes, Jesus’ anger is a righteous anger. Far more righteous than the anger I feel if I don’t get my selfish way, or find my insecure feelings getting hurt, or getting afraid that I will be left out, or rejected, or when people don’t do what I think they ought to do when I think they ought to do it because…well because I say so, that’s why.

Yes, Jesus’ anger is far more righteous than that.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, anger is such a powerful emotion in our lives. It triggers memories, often painful, of bigger people using anger against us. It tickles the rage beneath the veneer of our public selves. Thus we are surprised at your anger, until we realize that behind your anger burns a raging love willing to give yourself completely to and for us. May your righteous anger burn within us, burning away all that would drive us away from you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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7 Responses to “John 2:13-22”

  1. kirk Says:

    A Men

  2. Caren Says:

    Thanks for this devotion, Pastor Kerry! I’ve often struggled with this passage as I have with many things in John’s gospel but it helps to hear you write about it and de-tangle it for us with a fresh viewpoint.

  3. Sharon Boyd Says:

    AMEN!! AMEN!! AMEN!!

  4. Peter Says:

    Glad the devotions are back, thanks!

  5. Sue Faillettaz Says:

    So good to have you back; thank you for sharing.

  6. Marlys Says:

    I was so excited to see Daily Devotions in my inbox. I said yeah!! Thank you, God. You have that gift, Thank you and blessings in your daily ministry to us.

  7. Tim Says:

    So glad your devotions are back to fill me each day!

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