When Devotion turns to Fire – John 2:13-22
We are nice, kind people, aren’t we? We love each other very much. We are followers of Jesus. Therefore we don’t get angry. Right?
Wrong. Just because we are followers of Jesus doesn’t mean we don’t get angry. Indeed being followers of Jesus might give us a particular perspective on the world which gives us more reason to be angry at what we see, especially when we see human beings exploiting each other.
I might just be speaking for myself here, but I think we are often afraid of anger. The problem with anger is not the anger itself, but what it makes us do – because anger, like fire, is hard to control, and it can too quickly spill over into vengeful reaction.
We see Jesus’ anger very carefully channeled in this story against a sinful system, not against sinful people. Jesus’ devotion to God has become a fire as he sees what has happened in the temple. The buying and selling of religious experience makes it a travesty of what it is meant to be.
Pretending that there is no anger in us is not a very helpful way forward. Asking God to help us identify that anger, and to channel it appropriately, will get us much further!
13 It was almost time for the Passover Festival, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14 There in the Temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and pigeons, and also the moneychangers sitting at their tables. 15 So he made a whip from cords and drove all the animals out of the Temple, both the sheep and the cattle; he overturned the tables of the money-changers and scattered their coins; 16 and he ordered those who sold the pigeons, “Take them out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market place!” 17 His disciples remembered that the scripture says, “My devotion to your house, O God, burns in me like a fire.”
18 The Jewish authorities replied with a question, “What miracle can you perform to show us that you have the right to do this?”
19 Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple, and in three days I will build it again.”
20 “Are you going to build it again in three days?” they asked him. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple!”
21 But the temple Jesus was speaking about was his body. 22 So when he was raised from death, his disciples remembered that he and said this, and they believed the scripture and what Jesus had said.