March 8, 2015: Third Sunday of Lent
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, as well as the moneychangers at their business. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables. He told those who sold doves “Take these things away; stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Some then asked him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” They said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his followers remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.
Now when he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many believed in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus did not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well. (John 2:13-25)
When Jesus arrived at the temple in Jerusalem, he found it was more like a mall than a place to worship. He was angry and drove the merchants and bankers from his Father’s house. His opponents used the occasion to question and make fun of him. But Jesus foretold his death and resurrection, in words they did not understand. Even those who seemed to believe in him had weak faith. There are very few times in the Gospel stories that say Jesus was angry—and it is never about him. In this situation, it was about dishonoring God. And there was not a gentler way for Jesus to change the bad behavior in the temple; they would have just laughed if he had quietly told them to leave.
What makes me angry? There are times when I get angry, and it is usually about ME. I think someone isn’t giving me what I want or isn’t being fair to me or treating me the way I want. I ask Jesus to teach me when anger is a right response to a situation. I ask his help to care about others and to believe in him with all my heart.