The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.
And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.
And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
A lot of people turn to this passage when they talk about anger. The trick is, there is a deeper emotion and drive below the anger that brought this whole event about.
Jesus was deeply moved by the injustices that were going on here. He was deeply moved by His love for the temple and what was supposed to be going on there. He cared deeply for the people that were sincerely seeking God but were being sidetracked by entrepreneurs and oppressors.
Anger was just one outlet for His zeal. Other times His outlet was teaching, or healing, or surrendering.
We can learn a lot from Jesus in this event.
In His anger, He didn’t act outside of His authority. Technically, it was His house, so He wasn’t just a savage destroying someone else’s stuff.
He took time to construct that whip. He had a plan and took the time to develop the means to execute that plan. This wasn’t a fit of rage. It took Him time to acquire the cords, make them into a whip, and then it took time for Him to drive everyone out.
If you’ve ever seen a kid drop their cup of tokens at Chuck E. Cheese’s, you have a slight feeling of what it would have been like for those money-changers to get their tables flipped.
Before you start throwing uncharted shirts all over the lobby, remember that anger is just one way to manifest zeal. Another might be to buy up all of those shirts, go to Burma, and give them to orphan kids. Before you hate somebody on Facebook, it might be better, in your zeal, to take them out for Chinese food and talk to them face to face. Before you gossip or slander, in your zeal, it might be good to spend 3 days in fasting and prayer for that no-good, good-for-nothing…you get the idea.