Jesus rarely shows emotions beyond love and compassion in the stories we read. The images of grace for a sinner, children coming to him and deep love for his disciples come to mind.
But…isn’t there always a ‘but’? But, there is an instance where Jesus looses it like a redhead with a temper. *I can say these ridiculous things, I’m a redhead. But don’t YOU dare say it!*
Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me.” [John 2:15-17 MSG]
Righteous anger. Jesus had it. We have it, but our version sometimes comes through the judgmental filter lacking broad perspective. We like to see only our side and justify why it is righteous anger. We actually get really good at it.
Being passionate about justice involves a LOT of righteous anger, but being angry the wrong item got delivered from Amazon does not involve righteous anger.
Jesus’ anger was pure. He was royally pissed off at how they were using his Father’s house. It was sacred. It was holy. They were desecrating it. And they were using it for their own gain.
I love in The Message version when he yells…and I picture this with very red face, veins bulging out of his neck and a lot of crazy coming out of his eyes…”Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall.”
We get that, right? A shopping mall is the epitome of suburban life. A place to consume anything your heart desires from food to clothes to jewelry, name your price, but where else do we consume the things around us?
Frankly, coming from Haiti and landing in the states, it seems most everything is based on consumption. But if everything is based on consumption, are we still desecrating holy spaces?
Pause. Evaluate. What is a holy space anymore? What are the places set apart for us to encounter our Creator? It seems the term is looser now than every before. It could be on a walk. In a conversation. At a dinner table. What do you consider holy space?
Once you’ve figured that out, ask yourself a tough, honest question of how that time and space is desecrated by what is happening there. Would Jesus walk in with his face contorted into horrifying realization that unholy things are happening there?
Would he yell with righteous anger, “Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!”