A True Zealot

Here are a few after-thoughts on the story of Jesus cleansing the temple (John 2:13-22) — cutting-room floor material that did not make it into the sermon.

What Jesus did at the temple was not without precedent as some suppose. In the OT more than a few other servants of the Lord acted with zeal for the things of God. For example:

Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron the High Priest, was praised by God for his zeal when he pierced an Israelite man and a Midianite women through the belly with a spear. (Numbers 25:6-13)

Elijah the prophet slaughtered the prophets of Baal near Mount Carmel at the Kishon brook after Yahweh answered by fire. (1 Kings 18:40).

King Hezekiah ushered in reform and renewal when he ordered the temple cleansed and the people consecrated to the Lord in order to keep the Passover feast. (2 Chronicles 29:3-8)

The Levites cleansed the temple inside and out and consecrated the people for Passover per the king’s command. (2 Chronicles 29:15-19)

Ezekiel the priestly prophet saw a vision of executioners who went out with weapons of slaughter in their hands to kill idolaters — old men, young men and maidens, little children and women — but they touched no one on who was marked by God. They started with the elders who were at the sanctuary of God and worked their way out from there. (Ezekiel 9:1-6)

Nehemiah threw out all the household furniture of Tobiah the Ammonite from a chamber in the temple. Then he gave orders to cleanse the chambers, and he brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense. (Nehemiah 13:8-9)

Jesus acted in the same zealous spirit when he drove out marketeers and livestock from the temple and cleansed his Father’s house.

Jesus is the true and better zealot for the things of God. We might say that when Jesus entered the temple, this is what he saw:

Justice is turned back,
and righteousness stands far away;
for truth has stumbled in the public squares,
and uprightness cannot enter.
Truth is lacking,
and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
The LORD saw it,
and it displeased him that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede.

And what he did:

Then his own arm brought him salvation,
and his righteousness upheld him.
He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.

According to their deeds, so he repaid them. (Isaiah 59:14-18)

Why? The zeal of the Lord motivated him and accomplished many things through him before it consumed him.

fire-and-rain-abstract-2--inverted-steve-ohlsen

 

 

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