Zeal for Your House

It is zeal for your house that has consumed me; the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
♥︎ Ps 69:9
♥︎ Early in John's Gospel, the disciples remembered the first part of this verse when Jesus drove the merchants and the money changers from the temple: "He told those who were selling the doves... 'Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!' His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'” (John 2:16-17)

The second part of Psalm 69:9 certainly applied to Jesus later in his ministry, so here we must take the psalmist's words a bit more prophetically: Jesus is not being persecuted yet, but his strong reaction to the insult of turning God's house into a bazaar will be one of the main reasons he is, in the end, arrested. (This is more evident in the other three gospels than in John.)

My first reaction to this incident—and to the psalm that was remembered when the temple was cleansed—might be to pray for the zeal to act as Jesus did in defense of God. But in reality, thinking of myself as Jesus' stand-in is a bit vain. I should instead remember that my body, along with the rest of my faith community, is God's temple (1 Cor. 3:16), and I allow it to be bought and sold many times over in the course of the average day. My priorities are not the ones I see modeled in the life of Christ, but are instead dictated to me by the values of my society. No, I am not yet ready for an all-consuming zeal to call forth in me an angry response to outsiders. I must instead dwell on these words of Thomas Boston: Within that heart of yours, there are buyers and sellers that need to be driven out

♥︎ Forgive me, Lord, for mistaking your love and your grace for passiveness and permissiveness. May the zeal that consumed you when you drove the money changers from the temple consume you still, that all influences but your own will be driven from my heart; in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Thomas Boston (1676-1732)