Zealous for the House of God -- Old Testament Prophecies of the Messiah

The Zeal of Jesus Showed UP When He Cleansed the Temple

God was and is a very personal God. The things that grieve the hearts of His people also grieve His heart. He is not so distanced from His children that He does not take notice when even the slightest tear falls. He intimately cares for the entire well-being of those who surrender to Him. And David understood this. And yet that place of protection was not a place that David would be moved from, regardless of the circumstances, and regardless of the opposition.

David encountered incredible conflict during the course of his life. He so loved God, and honored and worshipped Him like no other. And yet not everyone in Israel mirrored that same adoration. In fact, Michal, David's first wife, mocked him for the way he had danced before the Lord when the Ark had been safely returned to Jerusalem. Many individuals that opposed David did so because they hated the complete freedom and surrender that he displayed when it came to his relationship with God.

But even beyond that, David had an incredible reverence for the House of God. All throughout the Psalms of David, it is clear that he loved spending time at the temple, the place where the presence of God dwelt. And any abuse or disrespect that individuals showed toward the things of God greatly angered David. He took very personal the attacks against God's holiness and sovereignty. Again, not many shared that same zeal. It was for this reason that many times David stood alone. He wrote it well when he said in one of his psalms, “I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother's children; because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.” (Psalm 69:8-9)

Yet there was another who bore the same burden. Jesus Christ was the Son of God, the complete embodiment of who God is, the expressed image of His character and persona. And just as David took to heart the reproaches of man against God, so Jesus displayed righteous indignation at the blatant and careless manner in which men were handling the things of God.

By the time Jesus had begun His ministry, the temple in Jerusalem had become a place where commercialization ran unchecked, and things that should have been handled with reverence were either minimized or ignored altogether. People from all over Judea travelled to Jerusalem every year for the Passover, bringing with them the currency relative to their region. But money changers who parked themselves at the entrance to the temple fraudulently handled the exchange of the various currencies. What's worse, those who then used the local currency to buy sacrificial animals were most likely purchasing second rate animals. And all of this was a regular occurrence during the most holy event of the year.

In light of this irreverent scenario, one does not need to question the appropriateness of Jesus' response: “And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, 'Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!' Then His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.'” (John 2:14-17)

The same zeal that rose up in David was the driving force behind Jesus when He cleansed the temple of the degenerate practices of the merchants. He was anointed to speak truth and life into the spiritually dead existence of His people.

Written by: Amy Miller