For I endure scorn for your sake… zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. (Psalm 69:7-9)
When Jesus Christ entered the temple and drove out those who were selling and making the House of God a marketplace, it was clear that he was being driven by some strong force. The disciples remembered the scripture in Psalm 69:9 – ‘zeal for your house consumes me’! The story in John 2:12-17 is clearly dramatic and a vivid expression of this zeal. The psalm brings out more details of what could have been reeling in the mind and heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. It evidently pertains to an individual sufferer; a man who regarded himself as suffering on account of his zeal for the service of God. It is this fact which is laid at the foundation of the psalmist’s prayer for the divine intervention in earlier verses.
There are other passages in this psalm which are applied in the New Testament to the Messiah and his times: Paul in Rom 15:3 also relates Jesus Christ with Ps 69:9b ‘the insults of those who insult you fall on me’; indeed as the sufferer recounts how he was ‘hated without reason’ in verse 4, Pilate himself would testify that he could not find a case against the Christ about who shouts of ‘Crucify him!’ were growing louder! Although these passages may be of so general a character that they do not seem to have been designed to refer exclusively to the Messiah, His life was clear embodiment of these descriptions. In the psalm, the sufferer first describes his condition (verses 1-6); he then represents himself as suffering in the cause of God (verse 7-13). He then prays to be delivered from these troubles (verses 14-18).
In John 2, Jesus is clearly evangelistic when he speaks of two places: ‘my Father’s house’ and ‘a market’. In his mind are deep expectations of what should be happening in the Father’s house – a house of prayer, fellowship, worship, testimony, studying the Scriptures, reconciliation, renewing commitment to justice – and these for both Jews and Gentiles who come here; yes, even Gentiles had a space where they could worship at the Temple. The focus of activity had gone away from these and turned to the market activities that were rife in the court of the Gentiles! When you see something going wrong, it is good to respond; it is good to express zeal for a noble cause.
It is good to re-point the people to the main point. It is good to pursue the right cause even when this may involve some suffering. We have just commemorated the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, his death and victorious resurrection. He had you in mind as he went through it all; to restore you to God our Father in warm and loving fellowship. His zeal took him that far. So should our zeal be for His house and the gospel.