15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
I didn’t come from a Christian family, but as a child my parents would occasionally bring me to church, as a way to keep us connected with other Chinese families in Rio. From the different stories I heard in Sunday School, this one with Jesus overturning the tables impressed me. Jesus got angry? I was always so used to the picture of the “nice guy” Jesus. That was very odd to me!
As I grew older I got to see that event in a different light: righteous indignation or holy anger, as some would call it, and the lack of the Fear of the Lord in those caring for the temple.
Holy anger is not “regular” anger; it comes from a response against injustice and evil deeds together with a desire to see God’s will in place. Channeled in the right way it makes Christians take up noble causes, standing up in favor for those in need and presenting the righteousness of God in a tangible way in our world.
Growing up I heard many stories of people that would use the Name of Lord as a way to find personal gain (the usual: money, power, sex). I saw leaders fall, and Christianity being ridiculed and criticized because of those testimonies. Two things come to mind when I read today’s passage: first, those in the temple treated the things of God with contempt; second, how much WE should ask for the Fear of the Lord in our hearts, so that we can truly present God for who He is.
When anger springs up in my heart, dear Lord,
Because of the evil I see,
Just help me to channel the wrath that I feel
And do something noble through me. —JD Branon (Su Tsai- Community Life Director).
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Look around and pray. It’s easy to forget to pay attention when making the same journey every day. Use your travel time to look around and pray for what you see. Pray for the buildings you pass; the people you see, your fellow travelers. Invite God’s presence to show you your commute through His eyes.