And the disciples of His, they remembered that it was written, “The zeal for the house of Yours, it has consumed Me.” (John 2:17) EWT
The word zeal is defined by Webster as an “eager desire or interest; fervor.” Some words that could be used to describe zeal are: Fervor, passion, intensity, commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm. Opposites of zeal are apathy and indifference.
The Book of John gives us evidence that Jesus is indeed the promised Christ and is the Son of God. God tells us through John “and truly many other signs certainly this one, Jesus, He did in the presence of the disciples of His, which are not written in the Book, this one, but these, they are written, in order that you may believe that this Jesus, He is the Christ, the Son of the one God; and through believing you may have life in the name of His”. (John 20:30-31) EWT These verses tell us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, our savior, and it is proven by the eyewitnesses to the miracles He performed while He was walking upon this earth.
As recorded in John 2:13-22, the Passover was at hand so there were many in Jerusalem. All males were required to attend three feasts a year and the Passover was the beginning of one of them (feast of unleavened bread) (Deut. 16:16). In the temple Jesus found those selling oxen, sheep and doves and also money exchangers doing business. This was the temple complex, which was about 21 acres in size (not in the temple building itself). There was no law against the selling of animals and exchanging money for people coming from different parts of the world. It would be convenient for the travelers to buy an animal to sacrifice. The problem was these men were taking advantage of people who were doing what God commanded. They made huge profits from the animal’s sale and in exchanging money.
God never intended to make the priests and others into millionaires or wealthy by taking advantage of people who were doing His will. We see this especially in those selling doves. Doves were allowed so the poor could also offer sacrifice to God (Leviticus 14:21-22). Jesus told these dove sellers “You all take these things from here; you all, make not the house of the Father of Mine a house of merchandise” (John 2:16). We see the zeal of Jesus in making a whip and driving them all out of the temple. Jesus made clean the temple of God and purified the worship that the people of God were offering to Him. Jesus did this same thing at the end of His ministry, just as He had at the beginning of His ministry (John 2:13-22, Matthew 21:12-13).
Zeal can be either good or bad. Paul said he was exceedingly zealous of the traditions of his fathers (Galatians 1:13-14). Before he became a Christian Paul persecuted the church of Christ and tried to destroy it. He was following traditions of men rather than the Word of God. Traditions are “the handing down of legends, customs etc. from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth” (Webster). Almost every religion in exitance today hold to oral traditions as being the same as the Bible. They offer no proof that their oral traditions come from God. They can offer no proof because there is no proof available. The Bible proves it is the words of God (John 20:30-31).
God through Paul also said there is a people that have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2). He is talking about those in the Jews religion that have zeal, but according to traditions of men (their fathers). We can see this in many religions today. Many from these religious groups would give their lives for their religion, thinking they are doing so for God (or their god), but are really following traditions of men (their fathers or those who started their particular religion). Hopefully all realize we need to look closely at any group who claims to be from God and make them prove it. They all, every one of them, must prove every statement or words they portray as being true. They MUST prove everything they say or are doing, to be true.
Jesus had an eager desire, passion, commitment, dedication and enthusiasm when it came to His work in doing and defending God and His word. He never acted with apathy or indifference in anything He was doing. We all need to be careful that the zeal we have for God and His word are based on God and His word and not done because of traditions men have handed down to us. Listen and do what God tells you to do (as we read it in the Bible), and do not listen to what people say the Bible says. Make them prove it Book and chapter and verse!