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Weekly Bible Study
“Jesus' Anger”
by Hugh Davidson   
October 28th, 2007

John 2:12-22 “After this he went down to Capernaum, He, and his mother, and His brethren, and His disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews' Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. And His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.’ Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.”

Last week we saw where Jesus made a whip of small cords and drove the people out of the temple area and I’m sure that a few of us were surprised by His actions. After all, Jesus has always been portrayed by Christian artists as meek and mild, playing with children and petting lambs but here He is flipping over the tables and swinging a whip. And it’s here that we see who Jesus really is and how He reacts to things He knows are wrong. And what angers Him is not only were people abusing things that were set aside for God but they were taking advantage of those who could least afford to pay for their services.

And I think there were three reasons why He was angry. First, God’s house was being desecrated. And here we have the gentile court of the temple where people would come to worship and it was more like going to a shopping mall where everything was for sale. How could anyone worship God in an atmosphere like that? So, rather than finding a house of worship all they really found was a bargain basement with not too many bargains. And then second, I think Jesus was angry because people were making all kinds of animal sacrifices and yet no one really cared about getting right with God. When sacrifices were given with the right attitude I think they were acceptable but for the most part these people acted like they were just paying God off. And then the third reason Jesus was angry is found in the book of Isaiah where the prophet writes, “For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” and as all the buying and selling was going on where the gentiles were supposed to be praying. No wonder Jesus was angry. The people were spiritually cold and their only concern was in how much they could make.

Not only was Jesus angry here but over in Matthew 23 He gave a scathing denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees for their religious hypocrisy because these people had been entrusted with the ministry of the word of God and as you go through the list of things He condemned them for, you find they were very busy appearing religious when in fact it was all an act and He says several things about them. They weren’t preaching the scriptures, they made meaningless oaths, they paid close attention to tithing while ignoring the basic practices of the faith like showing justice, mercy and faith and then He said they were practicing rigid rules of cleanliness while their hearts were filthy with sin. He was angry because the people were looking to this crowd for answers about God and they found nothing but business.

And then we read, “And His disciples remembered that it was written, the zeal of thy house hath eaten Me up.” Zeal is an emotional excitement and when you’re zealous about something it becomes the number one priority in your life. And it’s something you’ll either promote or defend. This quote is from Psalm 69:9 which is a messianic Psalm and Jesus’ disciples saw His actions as a confirmation of who He was. The Jews on the other hand were angry that He or anyone else would dare to question their right to make money or do anything else in the temple.

It’s interesting to see that they didn’t try to justify what they were doing, they just asked Him a simple question, which was, “What sign showest thou unto us, seeing thou doing theses things?” And their question shows that they couldn’t argue with what He did because they knew they shouldn’t have allowed it to happen in the first place and so what they were asking was, what gave Him the right to do or say anything about what they were doing? And He responded by saying, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” And then John adds in verse 21, “But this He spoke of the temple of His body.” And here we see two things. First, Jesus was prophesying of His death as He made reference to the death and resurrection of His body. And then second, He is indicating that when the temple would be destroyed in 70 A.D. the worship of God would no longer revolve around a building but a body and that would be the spiritual body of Christ.

We wonder why people were always missing the point of the things Jesus had to say. Nicodemas was told he had to be born again and he thought Jesus was telling him he had to go back to the womb and start over. Jesus warned His disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees and they thought they were going to try to poison them. He spoke to the woman at the well about the living water and she said, you don’t even have a bucket. He told His disciples He had food to eat that they didn’t know about and they thought someone had brought Him groceries.

And all these reactions are typical of someone whose mind is functioning on a fleshly level. And prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit we were all in a fog when it came to spiritual truth. Listen, if we don’t know Jesus and we don’t have His Spirit within us then we’re in spiritual darkness. He is the light of the world and it’s in His light that we see light. Do you see the light?

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