Judges 17:1-18:21; John 2:12-25; Psalms 103:13-22; Proverbs 22:15
NT: “The Jewish Passover was near, and so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and he also found the money changers sitting there. After making a whip out of cords, he drove everyone out of the temple with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables. He told those who were selling doves, “Get these things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” And his disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for your house will consume me. So the Jews replied to him, “What sign will you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days.” Therefore the Jews said, “This temple took forty-six years to build, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. So when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the statement Jesus had made. While he was in Jerusalem during the Passover Festival, many believed in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. Jesus, however, would not entrust himself to them, since he knew them all and because he did not need anyone to testify about man; for he himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:13-25 CSB)
Psalm 69:9, which is a Messianic Psalm, speaks of the Messiah having a zeal for the House of the Lord. The Hebrew word for zeal connotes an intense jealousy – not a sinful jealousy, but a righteous jealousy that is not selfish in nature, but passionate about the well-being, sanctity, and purpose of someone or something. There are two accounts in the Gospels of Jesus being zealous for the Temple and driving out the money changers. This is the first account. The second was after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, just before He was crucified. On this particular Passover week, Jesus entered the temple grounds and saw merchants selling sacrificial animals and money changers converting currency. The merchants and money changers had taken advantage of the people’s desire to worship God, turned it into an industry, and used it as an opportunity to line their pockets. Given human nature, they were probably price-gouging. Not only that, they were set up in the Court of the Gentiles which prevented the Gentiles from being able to worship God. Jesus was livid and drove the merchants and money changers out of the temple. Jesus was zealous for the sanctity of the Temple. It was to be a place of sacrificial worship to God, not a place of greed and opportunism. Jesus was also zealous for the gentiles who sincerely wanted to worship God. Jesus zeal undoubtedly took His disciples by surprise – until they remembered Psalm 69, and then it all made sense and confirmed their hope that Jesus was the Messiah. On the other hand, the Temple leaders were quite put off by Jesus’ intrusion into their worship business and demanded a sign that would legitimize His actions. His response was they same response that He would continue to give the religious leaders every time they asked for a sign: death, burial, and resurrection – that would be the sign that He would give them. Signs are helpful, but if signs are the basis of our faith, then our faith is flighty at best. As Jesus continued His ministry, he performed many signs and wonders, and many people believed in Him simply because of the signs. Though they believed in Jesus, Jesus didn’t put too much stock in their belief. They were only after Jesus for what He could do, not for Who He was.
Psalms: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. For he knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass — he blooms like a flower of the field; when the wind passes over it, it vanishes, and its place is no longer known. But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear him, and his righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep his covenant, who remember to observe his precepts. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, all his angels of great strength, who do his word, obedient to his command. Bless the Lord, all his armies, his servants who do his will. Bless the Lord, all his works in all the places where he rules. My soul, bless the Lord!” (Psalms 103:13-22 CSB)
A good father deeply loves his children. Similarly, our Father in heaven deeply loves those who revere Him, His word, His will, and His ways. Our lives here on earth are temporal, but God’s faithful love towards those who revere Him lasts for eternity. Faithful love is translated from the Hebrew word “checed” which is a zealous, arduous love, mercy, kindness, and faithfulness toward someone. Just as Jesus was zealous for the House of God, Our Father in Heaven is zealous towards all who revere Him… and to go further, those who place their faith in the Lord Jesus and faithfully follow the Lord’s commands become the “House of the Lord” – so Jesus is zealous for His faithful followers, just as He was zealous for the Temple. What an incredible truth to remember! Bless the Lord, oh my soul!!