Buyers and Sellers

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, it was this verse from Psalm 69 that the disciples remembered 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 then realized that Jesus was fulfilling the scripture passage that said, "Zeal for your house will consume me.”  (John 2:16-17)

If the first part of Psalm 69:9 referred to the cleansing of the temple, then the second part might well have been a prophecy of the outcome of that action. This is because Jesus' attack on the economic status quo—that is, the temple marketplace on which so many business interests depended—was one of the reasons he was arrested and ultimately crucified. If God couldn't be insulted by turning the temple into a tasteless bazaar, then the One who drove out the buyers and sellers would himself have be bear insult in a much more profound way.

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, who taught me to pray: Our Father...

The buyers and the sellers were no different fellows than what I profess to be.