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Briefing: Are you zealous for anything?

Dispatch (Assignment): Read John 2:12-25.

On the Street: When I think of zealousness I think of tree huggers, environmentalists, and radicals. I don’t think of zealous as a positive attribute. That way of thinking is wrong. Having zeal for something can be positive. The easiest way to prove this true is in verse 17. If Jesus has zeal, then it must be good.

What is “zealous”? One definition I found was: to have fervor for a cause, person or object. Another one I found was: enthusiastic diligence. I believe we have all been zealous for something at one time or another. Have you ever been extreme in your desire to find a criminal? As a law enforcement officer, is there a criminal act or crime that you have no tolerance for? If you answered yes to either of these questions then you have been zealous.

Jesus was zealous for His Father’s house. He was extreme in His compassion for us. He had enthusiastic diligence in His pursuit of doing His Father’s will.

In this passage, Jesus does things that I briefly considered “out of character” for Him. Shame on me; when I realized I had considered His actions as “out of character”, I understood I had lost sight of His purpose and understanding of who He was.

Zeal for His Father’s house is part of His character. In Ezekiel 39:25 (NIV) God says, “…I will be zealous for my holy name”. Romans 12:11 (NIV) says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

In this account, Jesus is clearing the Temple of thieves and men who were only there to take advantage of His Father’s children. Jesus was pure and perfect in what He was doing. This is the proper way of thinking about Jesus’ actions in His Father’s house.

Jesus gives us more insight on cleaning our spiritual house. Our body is the temple of God as seen in 1 Corinthians 6:19. In Matthew 12:43-45, He gives us a clear picture of what happens when a person tries to clean up their life without Jesus. Unless we fill our life (our spiritual house/temple) with Him, we are wasting our time.

There is nothing wrong with being zealous. Law enforcement officers should be zealous for public safety and serving our citizens. One warning on being zealous: be zealous for the right reason, cause and/or person. Proverbs 19:2 (NIV) says, “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way”. Galatians 4:18 (NIV) says, “It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good…”

Investigational Resources: For more on zeal, read Psalm 69:9, Isaiah 59:17, Romans 10:2, and Numbers 25:13.

Officer Safety Principle: What are you zealous for? Are you zealous for your relationship with God?

from The Gospel of John Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!