3/31 John 2:17

17 His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."

All four Gospels describe a similar event, but John tells us this happened upon Jesus' first visit to the temple during His ministry. The other three Gospels tell us of a cleansing of the temple during Jesus' last Passover. It appears that Jesus did this twice, during His first and third year of ministry, and there is no reference in any of the Gospels to a similar cleansing during Jesus' second year. I assume the priests had backed off on allowing the trade that was so lucrative for them but then decided to reinstate it.

John is the only one that tells us that the disciples called to mind a verse from a messianic psalm, Psalm 69:9. Jesus would later predict that the temple would be leveled, so why would He be upset by what was going on there?

The temple was a type of a heavenly reality. It spoke of atonement, justice, and mercy. The temple foreshadowed the atonement the Messiah would bring, but it was also symbolic of the bride of Christ, who would replace it. Instead of clearly conveying the symbolism, the temple had become a place for merchants to engage in merchandising and financial profiting, an abuse of what God had asked of His people. Does that happen in the present day house of God?

Jesus was fiercely passionate that God's house, His bride, be pure and expressing love for Him rather than love of money. Zeal can also be translated "jealousy." Jealousy for believers' love consumes Jesus. After all, just as people could see the improper motives of the priests discredit their faith, so today the world sees the people who call themselves Christians but devote themselves to something other than their relationship with Jesus.

Remember: This passionate display by Jesus was not simply anger. It was a revelation of the Lord's desire that each of us love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.