Day 25: "The fiery angst injustice causes."

"When Jesus enters the Temple in Jerusalem, he's not just upset, he's furious."

—From Ch. 25 ("Holy Fury"), Jesus Journey

We can all relate to feeling the fiery angst injustice causes. It’s something uncontrolled and unplanned that rises up from within. Something that, if it were to go unchecked, may lead us to take some pretty drastic measures (and maybe it should). 

Working at an inpatient psychiatric and chemical detox ward I have the privilege to daily encounter people at their lowest place in life. When I hear some of my clients stories, I can’t help but feel for them... their histories riddled with every abuse imaginable, and then the tragic, toxic ways they have attempted to mend themselves.  

My feelings for them go beyond empathy, though. A holy, righteous anger rages within me that wants to yell, “That’s just not right!” Tears flow. Knuckles whiten. Anger swirls. Brokenness remains.

These moments often catch me off guard, as if this fiery concern spawns from an origin other than myself. It’s as if I was made to feel this way—as if God is allowing me to feel, in some minuscule manner, the way he himself feels.

"Jesus went into the Temple and threw out all the people who were buying and selling in the Temple. He upturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of the dove-sellers.

‘This is what the Bible says,’ he said to them,

My house will be called a house of prayer –
but you have made it a brigands’ lair!’"

Matt. 21:12-13

How refreshing and fortifying is it that Jesus acts upon his internal holy fury?! Jesus leaves no room to wonder, “How do you really feel about that, Jesus?” No, Jesus is all-in. 

And that’s something we love about him, right? Think about it: Jesus drove out all who sold and bought in the Temple. I’m not sure how many people that would have been, but considering the dense crowds present at this special time, it was probably more than a few. And remember, Jesus didn’t simply overturn a table—but tables.

You get the feeling this was a very big ordeal and not some small, brief, isolated event. All eyes were on Jesus, and Jesus was throwing down. After his holy rampage and livid statements in the Temple, surely Jesus would drop the mic and exit stage left, don't you think?

What happens next, however, is both surprising and gripping:

"The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the remarkable things he was doing, and the children shouting out ‘Hosanna to David’s son!’ in the Temple, they were very cross.

‘Do you hear what they’re saying?’ they asked Jesus.

‘Yes,’ said Jesus. ‘Did you never read what it says,

You called forth praise to rise to you
from newborn babes and infants too!’"

Matt. 21:14-16

What was it about Jesus’ words and actions that not only offended those in authority to the point of wanting him dead, but at the same time welcomed the blind to see, the lame to walk (I like to imagine them dancing), and the children to break into praise? I ponder these things, and find myself in awe of Jesus, because this story is consistent and parallel with the way he engages my own heart...

According to 1 Corinthians 3:16, we are now the temple of the presence of God, and the passionate love and faithfulness of Jesus brings him to turn over the tables within me labeled “arrogance” and “self-gain,” only to give way to a beautiful healing of my own brokenness, weakness, and shame. And when Jesus does that in me, I am left to wonder at the beauty of God’s redemption, and to cry out with those children present at the Temple that day, “Hosanna to David's son!”

Today's guest post is by Ryan Riggs: "Ryan is a son, husband, and 'Papa Bear.' His favorite things in life are long dates with his captivating wife, imaginative adventures with his three curious children, and chats with heart-friends beside a fire. He spent 10 years serving with Youth With A Mission and 24-7 Prayer USA, traveling to 46 states, growing 43 dreadlocks, and sleeping on 218 couches. Ryan and family currently live in a quaint, mid-Ohio village of approximately 400 people and he works full-time as a registered nurse on an inpatient psychiatric and chemical detox ward. He and his wife Allison shepherd a small, rowdy, home-based fellowship where the children outnumber the adults. And it's awesome."

Photo credits: Stephanie Pekrul