MONDAY | ZEAL
Yesterday was Sunday, and Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey through the Eastern Gate and into the temple to be examined by the people for the next four days. This wouldn’t be significant, except that Sunday was the day on which the High Priest was to bring in the Passover Lamb, the lamb without blemish, the lamb to be sacrificed for the people. He was to bring this lamb through the Eastern gate and into the temple. The lamb was to be tied up in the temple and examined for four days to see whether it was truly without blemish and perfect. Then, it was slaughtered for the sins of the people.
Today, he goes to the temple again. The atmosphere is electric. Jews from all over Israel have packed into this city for their Holy Week, and the temple is the prime attraction. It is the only place where God’s presence resides on earth and where God meets with his people. When Jesus arrives, though, he does not find a place of worship, but a bazaar. His Father’s house is filled, not with worshippers, but opportunists looking to make money off of the crowds. And, for the second time in his short 3-year ministry, Jesus does the unthinkable. In what probably seemed like the fury of a madman, he drives out the salesmen, overturning tables and chairs, coins flying, pigeons squawking. Why? Out of a zeal for his Father’s house, a passion to preserve the presence of prayer in God’s people.
- Read Mark 11:15–19. Does this seem uncharacteristic of Jesus to you? Why?
- What does Jesus demonstrate about the character of God through this scene?
Five days from now, Jesus is going to die, and when he dies the curtain in the temple is torn in two showing that there is no longer a divide between God and man. Now we are God’s temple, his meeting place, the place where his presence resides on earth. God’s people are filled with the Holy Spirit in the same way that the temple was 2000 years ago.
- Read James 4:4–5. James describes God as having the same type of zeal for the purity our hearts as Jesus had for the purity of the temple. Do you guard your heart from loving other things with this same zeal?
- What priorities of your heart might God be yearning jealously over because you have placed them above him?
- What does it look like this week for you to cleanse your heart of an over-love for these things with the same unabashed zeal with which Jesus cleansed the temple?
Seven hundred years before this, Isaiah prophesied that the Savior would be born, conquer and reign with the “zeal of the Lord of Hosts.” Jesus’ zeal wasn’t merely a one-time flare up, but a manifestation of the zealous heart of God to rescue his people, redeem his world, and restore all creation.
- Read Isaiah 9:6–7. Spend time now meditating on and worshipping God for his zeal for his people, his zeal for you.
Download the full Holy Week Devotional here: