Today’s Gospel reading has always spoken to me. Perhaps it is because I used to have a bit of a temper. I used to think in today’s Gospel reading that Jesus lost control and let his temper boil over. However, as I have studied the passage over the years, I realize this is not the case.
I do not know about you, but I am startled to see the gentle Lamb make a whip and drive the merchants out of the temple. There is a definite difference between a response full of rage and one that is deliberate and forceful. Jesus did not lose his temper; his action expressed anger, but he was clearly in control of himself. Jesus knew that the irreverent marketplace within the very courts of God’s Temple would not be expelled without the use of force. “So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area.” (John 2:15.)
Also in today’s Gospel reading, after things had calmed down a bit, there is another request from the people to give them some miraculous sign to prove his authority from God. However, Jesus would not give the kind of sign they demanded; he himself was the sign. So Jesus answered the Jewish leaders’ challenge with a counter-challenge. His sign to them was, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 1:19.) Jesus, of course, was talking about himself. People would destroy his body (the temple), and in three days He would rise from the dead. Jesus’ ambiguous statement is a good example of how he encouraged people to think and inquire more deeply.
Today’s reading is extremely encouraging to me. It indicates that in the face of wrong, anger is a proper response. It also reinforces Jesus as the Christ. I hope that as you read John 2:13-22, you get the same encouragement as me.