Pink blossoms framing a stone status in the Cathedral gardens

Mark 11:15-19

Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”

And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

In this passage from Mark, Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem for the Passover festival. We see Him go to the temple and become dismayed by what He finds. Jesus is furious because the moneychangers are there. He throws chairs and turns the tables over in the temple and yells: “You have made (the Temple) into a den of robbers!” Note: Jesus did not walk into the temple and kindly ask them to put away their things. No, in this scene, we have a flash of Jesus’ humanity, and I find it quite comforting.

I like this side of Jesus as much as I do the sweet, kind, compassionate Jesus who heals the woman at the well, raises Jairus’ daughter, feeds the 5,000 who are hungry and weeps with Martha and Mary at the death of their brother Lazarus. For in Jesus’ anger, we see ourselves, our humanity, our outrage — those times when we get frustrated or upset. In these passages, Jesus is honest, not measured or even-tempered. We relate to the hero rushing in to take out the bad guys. In this moment we see Jesus as fully human, someone just like us, someone who can lose his cool, albeit completely justifiable.

Have you ever wanted to turn over tables or throw a chair because of an injustice? Maybe you faced discrimination or were abandoned as a child or in your marriage. Maybe you are contending with a terminal illness, or perhaps you lost your job. The emotions of anger, hurt, frustration, and pain are some of the most difficult ones for us to process. Sometimes we need to physically, as much as mentally, release these feelings. When emotions overwhelm us, rather than turn over a table, go for a walk or a bike ride. Practice yoga or meditation. And know that our Lord has traveled that same road. Be assured that in your frustration, in your anger, you are not alone and never will be. And may the God of peace grant you comfort in your struggles.


My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I,
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh, and die?

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King.
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend.
In whose sweet praise
I all my days
Could gladly spend.

(Samuel Crossman 1664)