When Jesus “cleanses” the temple, he connects the act with his death and resurrection, trying to get his audience to understand where the real temple is. Check out this video with Dr. Brant Pitre to learn more about this famous episode in Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus made quite a scene. He directly engaged those who were turning the Temple into a marketplace. Those selling animals for sacrifice were doing so as a way of trying to make a profit off of the sacred practices of the Jewish faith. They were not there to serve the will of God; rather, they were there to serve themselves. And this brought forth the holy wrath of our Lord.
It’s important to point out that Jesus’ wrath was not the result of Him losing His temper. It was not the result of His out-of-control emotions pouring forth in extreme anger. No, Jesus was fully in control of Himself and exercised His wrath as a result of a powerful passion of love. In this case, His perfect love was manifested through the passion of anger.
Anger is normally understood as a sin, and it is sinful when it’s the result of one losing control. But it’s important to note that the passion of anger, in and of itself, is not sinful. A passion is a powerful drive which manifests itself in various ways. The key question to ask is “What is driving that passion?”
In Jesus’ case, it was hatred for sin and love for the sinner that drove Him to this holy wrath. By turning over the tables and driving people out of the Temple with a whip, Jesus made it clear that He loved His Father, whose house they were in, and He loved the people enough to passionately rebuke the sin that they were committing. The ultimate goal of His action was their conversion.
Jesus hates the sin in your life with the same perfect passion. At times, we need a holy rebuke to set us on the correct path. Do not be afraid to let the Lord offer this form of rebuke to you this Lent.
Lord, I know that I am a sinner who is in need of Your mercy and, at times, in need of Your holy wrath. Help me to humbly receive Your rebukes of love and to allow You to drive all sin from my life. Have mercy on me, dear Lord. Please have mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.
Reflect, today, upon those parts of your life that Jesus wants to cleanse. Allow Him to speak directly and firmly to you so that you will be driven to repentance. The Lord loves you with a perfect love and desires that all sin in your life be cleansed.