We know Jesus as love, but what is there is a side of Jesus we don’t always see. Let’s dive in here.
When we started the first chapter of the book of John, we can see that the main focus is about who Jesus is. He is the co-creator with God; He is the light. We also see Him as someone who is loving, gentle, and one who forgives – this is good.
In Chapter 2, John begins with the first miracle Jesus has done at the wedding at Cana. After that event, Jesus and His disciples went to Capernaum (around 20 miles away from Cana) and stayed there with Jesus’ mother and brothers for a few days. Capernaum will soon be the place where He will perform many miracles and speak at the synagogue.
But then Jesus left Capernaum because despite the miracles He has done there, many people still had unbelief. Even Jesus’ own brothers did not believe Him to be the Messiah.
The Jewish Passover (John 2:13)
Jesus and His disciples went up to Jerusalem (around 100 miles from Cana) for the Jewish Passover. This was an annual observance of their ancestors’ deliverance from Egypt.
All male Israelites aged 12 onwards were required to go to Israel and visit the temple to celebrate Passover. Many Israelites near and far traveled to Jerusalem for this.
As time passed, the Jewish Passover became a passive celebration where the spiritual context was no longer there. For one, the Israelites didn’t bother to raise, take care of the required animals and carry them all the way to Jerusalem for sacrifice because they can buy one at the temple grounds.
What would have been a time for them to remember what God did for them in Egypt was made into a shortcut. Deep gratitude and commemoration of what God has done would have taken place. Instead, they could just buy the sacrificial animals according to their background and offer them to the temple.
Another is that the Court of the Gentiles has become the place where the selling of animals and exchanging of currencies took place. Gentiles who wanted to know more about God and wanted to pray to God could not concentrate anymore with all the animal noises and clinking of coins.
What would have been a place for them to meet God became a place full of distraction.
Jesus’ Righteous Anger (John 2:14-17)
When Jesus and his disciples came to the temple, He was outraged by what He had seen. He drove both people and animals out, turning over tables and scattering coins.
This is not the Jesus we are accustomed to seeing: the gentle and loving Jesus. We must remember that Jesus is God in the flesh entering the temple, and when He saw the actions and attitudes of the people in the temple that lessened worship, He was filled with righteous anger that He did what He has done.
The Roots of Christ’s Anger
1. Religious Irreverence
This means that though the person may seem to be worshipping, there is no real reverence in God inside his heart. And if this attitude towards worship goes on, they will be sufficiently desensitized to the greatness and holiness of God. The manner of service we give to God is affected by how we revere Him.
If you notice in the temple grounds, many people proclaim about God, but in practice, they deny the reality of God. The place of worship became the place of profit. And the rituals weighed more than the reality of God.
2. His love for the Father
Psalm 69:9 says, “For zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.”
Whatever made the heavenly Father angry also made the Son angry. This is not just any kind of anger – this is righteous anger.
Application in Our Own Lives
1. Corporate Worship is important.
God wants us to worship him together. The way we worship reveals the way we think about God. When we gather together to worship Him, we make God known to the whole world and in the spiritual realm. In truly worshipping Him, we have the privilege of meeting God and that’s when we are fully and completely satisfied. We are touched by our Creator.
2. We are the temple of God
In John 2: 18-22, Jesus’ authority was questioned by the Jewish leaders. They were more focused on having a good life rather than having a good heart. But Jesus’ answer showed them that He is the temple and that he will die, but will rise again after 3 days.
They will not be able to fully understand this until Jesus’ resurrection. Colossians 2:9-10 states that:
”9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”
Jesus said that He is the temple, and since we are in Him, we too have become the temples of God. See the Bible verses below.
1 Cor 3:16 says;
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”
2 Cor 6:16;
“16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them
and walk among them,
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
Come as you are – Live as you should
Throughout the gospel of John, we can see that anyone can come to Christ. No matter who you are or what you have done – as long as you know something is wrong with your life and you desire freedom, you can always come to Christ.
But when you do come to Christ, be assured that He will not allow you to remain as you are. You have become His temple and He will cleanse your heart from all the clutter that may be defiling or corrupting the temple courts. He will remove anything that would hinder you from doing true and pure worship.
When we as individuals, pray, read, and meditate on His word every day as our personal worship, we can come together in corporate worship with one heart and one voice, in genuine reverence of His holy presence.