Zealot

coinsI want to remind my faithful readers that we currently live in Arizona, which doesn’t observe daylight savings time. Therefore, for many of you, it will appear my blog is posted much later. I’m, in fact, posting about the same time, but some of you will see it much later.

There are many stories in the gospels that demonstrate Jesus’ patience and love for his friends. He told parable after parable to try and get his point across to his hard-headed and often clueless disciples, who never seemed to quite get it.

But I have two particular favorite stories in the gospels and they have something in common. First, John’s gospel talks about the death of Jesus’ very good friend Lazarus. Upon learning of his death, John tells us “Jesus wept.”

Second, all four gospel writers tell their version of Jesus, seemingly very angry, turning over the tables in the temple and telling the money changers to stop making his Father’s house a marketplace. In all four gospels, Jesus was passionate.

The thing that both of these stories have in common is that they demonstrate Jesus’ humanness. He had emotions, like all human beings. He was sad that his friend died and he was clearly unhappy with the money-hungry merchants.

I think the notion of Jesus being angry makes some people uncomfortable. Jesus is God, and God doesn’t get angry. (Well, Lot’s wife might take issue with this notion. Still, she was duly warned.) For my part, I like the idea that Jesus gave the merchants the what-for as he observed their greedy actions. I like that he had strong feelings about what was right and what was wrong.

In John’s gospel about Jesus in the temple, his disciples recalled the words from scripture they had learned at their mama’s knee: Zeal for your house will consume me.

Over coffee yesterday afternoon, Bec and I discussed Jesus in the temple. Her pastor focused on Jesus’ zeal rather than on the notion that Jesus was angry. And when you look up the definition of zeal, it sheds a bit of a different light on Jesus’ actions.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary:

Zeal: noun  A strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something.

Synonyms: passion, ardor, love, fervor, fire, avidity, devotion, enthusiasm, eagerness, keenness, appetite, relish, gusto, vigor, energy, intensity

It puts a bit of a different spin on it, doesn’t it? Still, I love that the gospels document that Jesus had strong feelings and emotions just as I do.

3 thoughts on “Zealot

  1. Zeal is such a beautiful and powerful word. I agree with Jennie, just talking with a friend the other day that it’s sometimes easy to forget that Jesus was human…a man with a purpose. If he wasn’t passionate…what would he be?

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