“Then His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up’ ” (John 2:17, NKJV).

This zealous, challenging portrait of Jesus is radically different from the portrait of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” that we have learned in the primary Sabbath School.

Dr. Lloyd J. Ogilvie warns about the false picture we often create of “an easy-going, good-natured Jesus, who is on call when we want Him to help us deal with our personal agenda.”–The Other Jesus, p. 12. The zealous, no-nonsense Jesus showed up one day in the temple and was shocked to see His Father’s house transformed into a den of thieves! The house of worship and prayer had degenerated into a market place for unabashed merchandising. Peddlers and traffickers jostled with the worshipers.

With whip in hand and His eyes flashing with zeal and indignation, Jesus ordered the money changers and their livestock out from the sacred precinct. Overthrowing the money table and vigorously tossing them out of the temple, Jesus cleaned up His Father’s house.

When Jesus drove out the money changers and the bargaining merchants from the sacred precinct, He was consumed by zeal for God’s house. And so the authentic Jesus who tenderly comforts the sorrowing also disturbs the undisturbed. The authentic Jesus is tough as well as tender. Of this episode Ellen White wrote: “Even the disciples quaked with fear, and were awe-struck by the words and manner of Jesus, so unlike the usual demeanor of the meek and lowly man of Galilee. But they remembered that it was written of him, ‘The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.’ ”

Lord, whether You comfort or disturb me; it is always redemptive. Thank you for being tough as well as tender. Amen.