Specific Text - John 2:13-25
At first it can be hard to figure out what Jesus is doing in this passage about the temple. Certainly it has to be more than just a divine temper tantrum. There's no doubt that it was wrong for these merchants to be doing what they were in the temple, but all in all, it doesn't seem like it was the worst thing in the world. Nobody was getting hurt right? It was a victimless crime. Besides, all throughout the rest of the gospels He speaks calmly to people who He would have had a right to be very angry with. You see this in the way He spoke to the Pharisees, to Pilate, and even to the Devil as Jesus was being tempted.
But the disciples saw much more than that. They could see Psalm 69 being personified in Jesus' emotional anger. John only quotes the first half of verse 9 in his gospel:
zeal for your house consumes me... - Ps 69:9a
It seems like a major understatement to say that Jesus was consumed with zeal as He violently cleared things out, but the question is why was He so upset? Why, out of all of the gross sins and abuses that were on display all over Israel, was He so angry about merchants at the temple? Couldn't He just be glad that at least these people were going to church?
The answer to that question comes in the second half of Psalm 69:9:
...and the insults of those who insult you [God] fall on me. - Ps 69:9b
When David wrote Psalm 69, he wasn't just upset because it seemed like everyone had turned their backs on him, David was upset that all of Israel had turned their back on God. David took it personally. Jesus took it personally. How about you? How do you take it when you see Godly values crumbling all around you? Does it consume you when you hear people insulting God? When you see people carry on like God doesn't care about them, or that His law is obsolete or that He doesn't even exist?
Both David and Jesus had divine authority to respond with violence when it was necessary. You do not have that authority. But you are called to have a righteous anger for those who insult God. It should make you upset. Stand your ground; be ready at every moment to defend and promote what you believe.
You are called to take it personally when God is insulted, because as a Christian, you are included in Christ. When He's insulted, you're insulted. But you are also called to express that anger by shining the light of the gospel into the darkened lives of those heaping the insults.
Prayer For The Day: Father in Heaven, please forgive me for the many, many times that I have insulted with both my actions and my words. Increase my zeal for you that I would be consumed for your House. Equip me to respond appropriately to those who actively insult you. Amen