Close your eyes for a minute and imagine Jesus. I bet you imagined one of a few pictures of Jesus:
1) On the cross paying the price for our sins
2) As the shepherd with a sheep draped over the back of his neck
3) Sitting on a rock, blessing children
4) Being tempted by the devil
5) Something else (please share in the comments)?
My bet is you do not picture Jesus with a whip in His hand driving out the money changers from the temple. It is certainly not the first image that comes to my mind. It is an interesting picture, and there is more to it than meets the eye.
Jesus arrived at the temple one day and He found something that made Him MAD. This is an anger that is expressed by few people, most of the time in unhealthy manners. The same Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, our shepherd, the one who blessed the children and was tempted; took drastic measures. He took some cords and made a whip, overthrew the tables, and ran those money changers and venders out of the temple. Does this sound like the gentle, loving Jesus that you usually think of?
The truth is, it was out of love and care for people that He acted so harshly. Paradox? Let me explain: the money changers and venders were taking advantage of people. They were the “food and beer vendors at the sports arena” if you will. They made their living selling merchandise that could be purchased for a much lower price anywhere else, at a premium where it counts (this is where the metaphor ends, I have no problem with venders at sports arenas). They were taking advantage of the poor and weak. That made Jesus mad, and He took action.
That this passage of scripture (by the way, I’m in John 2), has more to teach us than I could write in one short post. First of all, Jesus is showing us that it is acceptable to mad sometimes. In fact, it is even acceptable to be angry. Do you honestly think that Jesus did this without being angry? He threw tables, and made a whip… I’ve been angry before, but never thrown tables or made a whip.
As Christians, we have had it so engrained in us that anger is wrong. “Anger is one letter short of danger” and “Let go and let God” are some of the more common things I hear about anger. These are valid teachings, don’t get me wrong. Most of the time, anger is bad, but there is a time when it is good. Like when you see things that are wrong. Things like slavery (did you know there are more people in slavery today than in the times of Lincoln’s presidency? Think human trafficking and sex trade.), or rampant pornography, or drunk driving or you name it.
I believe that God could have placed an anger toward something inside of you or someone else to stir you to action. Jesus was angry, but He did not just sit there and complain to his disciples about it. He did not shake His head say, “That’s too bad.” He did something! He threw those money changer, thieves and robbers out of the temple. His “holy anger” drove him to action, and I hope that you have one, and it drives you to action as well.
I leave you with 2 questions today:
1) What anger has God placed inside of you?
2) What are you going to do about it?
Oh, and by the way, Jesus had to do it twice. This is one account, and in the other gospels, we see a different account that occurred right after the triumphant entry. Sometimes, we have to do things more than once, because people need the reminder.