There’s something about the day after a big event that creates an emotional letdown. Every year our church celebrates three HUGE events; Fall kickoff, Christmas Eve, and Easter Sunday. For each one, I find myself getting amped up to eleven (on a scale of ten) with energy, passion and excitement. We celebrate enjoy the day, celebrate the wins, and then, as always, life moves on. I’ve had similar experiences with sporting events, music releases, and others of life’s “big time” moments. They’re always the most important thing that’s ever happened, until they’re over, and the next big thing waits to take it’s place.
Usually, the day after though, I find myself in a peculiar and compromising situation. It’s best identified as, an emotional let down. Not because the thing that happened wasn’t great, successful or important; it always is. But rather, because I have been so geeked out, that the “day after” with all of it’s normal-ness and lack of urgency has me feeling like it’s not all that special. And so, I find myself emotionally drained, and willing to do something incredibly stupid and unfortunate, like get annoyed and snap at my kids, lose my temper with my wife and start a fight, not do something I promised someone I would; you get the point. The results are less than admirable, and all along the way, I am trying to convince myself that I’ve “earned this” because the day before took so much out of me. Perhaps you know the feeling.
I’ve often wondered about (and justified my own behavior through), the story about Jesus flipping tables in the temple, cracking the whip and calling out His own people as thieves and casting them out like enemies. Maybe that’s what they were.
Matthew 21:12–13 (ESV) – And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
At first glance, it feels like Jesus might be having a “day after” moment, an emotional let down that allows Him to do something He’d later come to regret. It makes us feel like He’s one of us, and we can end our self loathing, knowing that He was just like you and me. Except we’d be wrong. Stone cold, dead, wrong.
The truth about Jesus is that in ways, He WAS just like you and me. He was made of flesh and bone. He felt emotion and had relationships, and faced temptation. He ate, drank, and yes, even went to the bathroom from time to time. He was able to understand the human experience in ways that He only could have if He chose to become part of His creation, just like He did. But that’s where the similarities end. Because Jesus’ response in each and every situation, was to feel what we felt, deal with what we deal with, experience what we experience, and then respond with complete and total perfection. His temple exchange is no different.
Anger in and of itself is not sinful, and Jesus’ day at the temple, perhaps the day after His coronation as King, demonstrates the holy and righteous wrath of God. They had taken what was sacred and special, what God have given to them as a place to meet with and hear from Him, a space to deepen their relationship – and they had cheapened it. They had filled an eternal place, with temporal pieces; and Jesus response in that moment was MORE than justified.
Someone told me this week something I knew to be true, but that I needed to be articulated in just the right way.
“It’s a blessing to have our sins pointed out to us.”
Yes. Yes, it is. And in that same vein, I would like to say that I would hope, that even in our “day after” moments, our sin, and the sins of others would make us so angry that we would see and call it for what it is, what it keeping us from, and who it is causing us to be – and we would become righteously angry and cast it out of our hearts, and our lives.
Today was a day after for Jesus. Today is a day after for me. Perhaps it is for you as well. Would we follow His example in removing sinfulness from the space that was meant to be sacred, and make room in the temples we now are, for Him and Him alone instead.