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Christian Union: The Magazine
May 23, 2023

The Dual Identity of Jesus


By Sheri Casali, Ministry Fellow, CU Gloria


The passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple He found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money changers sitting there. And making a whip out of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen.  And He poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.  And He told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade”. His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” – John 2:13-17 

money changers

Jesus is often depicted as a docile lowly lamb.  He was a baby born in a manger. He is a compassionate servant who heals the sick. He humbly knelt down to wash His disciples feet. When He was brought before the chief priests and the elders, He made no response to any of the accusations raised against Him. He willingly died a gruesome death being nailed to a cross, and bore our sin and shame without retaliating in any way. We see a picture of this prophetically written in Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”

Yet in this passage in John, we are given a glimpse of Jesus’ boldness and righteous indignation towards men’s wilful sin. It seems likely that those who were selling in the temple had given into greed, and exchanged their hearts for earthly wealth instead of honoring God and respecting His house. The temple court was holy ground, where prayer and worship were to be the central focus.  Jesus was making a statement that His Father’s house was not to be used as a marketplace for profit, but rather a sanctuary marked by holiness. 

He most likely frightened the men in the temple that day. However, His aim was not to frighten them by turning over their tables, rather He sought in holy anger to turn their hearts towards God. Sometimes Jesus is the lamb that barely breathes a word, and sometimes He is the lion who roars to awaken sinners to repentance.  “They shall go after the Lord; He will roar like a lion; when He roars, His children shall come trembling from the west” (Hosea 11:10).

Jesus is still on mission today to bring sinners to repentance and to keep error out of His Father’s house.  He is calling us, as His church, to be on mission with Him. Since the Lion and the Lamb dwells within us, we are empowered to speak the truth in love and defend what is holy and pure in His sight.  The One slaughtered as a lamb, is returning as the Lion of Judah to establish His kingdom on earth where there is no error, and righteousness reigns. 

Lord Jesus, grant us a zeal for Your house that is a consuming fire, a fire that does not flicker or burn out at any cost.  Consume within us a spiritual fervor to reject all error and stand firm for what is holy.  Lord, we desire to be bold and courageous in every way as vessels for Your truth.  You have triumphed as the victorious One, and we await in expectant hope for Your return.