Zeal For God’s House
“And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zealof thine house hath eaten me up.” John 2:17
That Jesus, as a man, was zealous for the house of God is evident. We know His zeal for God’s house was that it should be known as a house of prayer for all nations not a place of merchandising. That zeal drove Him to drive out of the Temple those who sold their merchandise in that place as though it were something “Holy,” because it was being sold in God’s house and not in the commercial marketplace. They were using the house of God also as a place to extort people out of their money, first to pay the Temple Tax which Jews were required to pay in Tyrian shekels,
As Jewish visitors to the Temple had to pay the temple tax in Tyrian shekels or half shekels (currency from Tyre which didn’t bear the image of any earthly ruler) this provided a lucrative trade for the moneychangers in the temple courts (see Matthew 21:12)**.
then, to purchase doves, sheep and oxen for the temple sacrifices and doing so at extortionary rates.
Jesus loved the House of God, the place of prayer and worship for all people, not just the Jews and certainly not just the wealthy. The offerings that the people were summoned to bring to the Temple was to be used to provide for those who dedicated themselves to service in the Temple and for the upkeep of the facility and for ministry to the poor. But the merchandisers and moneychangers had made it their private business caring nothing for the people, the poor or the Temple.
A place that should have been peaceful and welcoming, a Sanctuary for prayer and a place of safety and relief from the cares of the world had become a marketplace filled with the din of bleating sheep, mooing cattle, cooing birds creating a cacophony matched and exceeded only by the noise of the merchants hawking their wares, the money changers exchanging currencies, the people shouting and vying for the advantage, one over the other, replete with all the vulgarity and unholy verbal exchanges common to such settings—expected in the street but not in the House of God.
This was an offense to Jesus because it was an offense to God the Father and His response was equal to the situation. He drove them out with violent anger a decisive resolve. He didn’t try to placate them, to coddle them to step lightly in their midst so as not to offend any of them for fear they would not liking Him or that they would be turned off by His message. No. The zeal for His Father’s House was foremost and beyond any other consideration He may have had for those defiling that Holy place.
When at war the warriors attitude must be resolute and passionate, zealous for victory over the enemy, no compromise, no half measures, nothing held back in reserve, no other thought but full victory, defeat and utter annihilation of the enemy.
Now the brick and mortar temple was one thing but the body of Christ as the Temple of the Holy Spirit, how much more zealous is Jesus and the Father for that house than the latter.
The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up Hiszeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies. Isaiah 42:13
To completely destroy the works of the devil Jesus made the ultimate and only sacrifice that could be made, His own life. His zeal for God and His house, for our lives for all eternity was the motivation for His love that lead Him to lay down His life for us while we were yet sinners.
That was the ultimate expression of our Lord Jesus’ s zeal for God’s house. Now as imitators of God how are you doing where you zeal for Him is concerned?
Rock of ages cleft or me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Let the water and the blood
From His wounded side which flowed
Be for me the double cure
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill the law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
My zeal could never atone for my sin, but my zeal prompted by my love for my Father God and my Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit in me can move me to greater works of love in His name.
“Father, God of all living and Creator of all things, thank You for the life You have given us while we live here on earth and eternal life with You forever. Bless us Lord with the passion required for us to be pleasing to You in our work and the zeal for Your Kingdom’s purpose to be realized to the fullest both in us and through us to honor and glorify Your great name forever. Thank You, Father, in Jesus’ Holy name we pray believing thatnow we receive all that we have asked of You. Amen and Amen.”