“Then they came to Jerusalem. Jesus entered the temple area and began to drive out those who were selling and buying in the temple courts. He turned over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. Then he began to teach them and said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have turned it into a den of robbers!” (Mark 11:15-17)
This marks the beginning of Holy Week as many Christians move toward the death of Jesus (Good Friday) and his resurrection (Easter). Historically on Monday Jesus had this memorable incident where he drives out (John 2) folks who are making a sacred place sacrilegious. This is a prophetic fulfillment (?) to Jeremiah 7 where the same thing happened amidst the people of Israel. I have always looked at this story with a bit of confusion. Was Jesus losing it amid the pressure of knowing he was about to die? Was Jesus so frustrated with people that he simply let his anger get the best of him?
Looking at the text over and over I see things differently now. I used to think anger did not have a place in a Christian’s life yet Paul even said, “in your anger do not sin” (Eph. 4:26). The term “righteous indignation” may have some weight here as Jesus sifts through the hypocrisy and blatant disregard for God’s law on the part of those “selling and buying.” Here is what I see from Jesus’ anger…
Jesus had a laser sharp focus for his mission. Earlier he told his disciples to “seek first the kingdom” and it is clear that is what he intends on doing (Lk. 19:10) until his mission is over. Later on this week Jesus is going to witness all sorts of derailments from his mission from his disciples and we will again see the humanity of Jesus in those intimate moments. What we will also see is that with each pressing moment where the arrows of the enemy are firing at will, Jesus responds perfectly in cohesion with the Father’s will.
Jesus addressed the issue. One of my pet peeves is when people passive aggressively address an issue. Social media has unfortunately become a feeding ground for the passive aggressive. We don’t have to address the issue if we put it on our Facebook wall right? Jesus would have none of this. He saw their struggles for what they were and immediately sought to curtail their efforts.
Jesus became angry for the right reasons but did not let that anger consume him. He addressed the issue, and moved on but he did this because of the sharp contrast of their actions in regards to the will of God. Nothing more and nothing less.