Consuming zeal

John 2:13-22

His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me.”

First, to be clear: I am in favor of mental health. There is so much suffering in the obsessions and disturbances of the human psyche, so much misery for troubled spirits. Charged with the handling of scripture for the sake of others, I prize the ways in which the gospel can be healing medicine and a balm for the anxious and afflicted.

But then comes the reminder that the Gospel of John is not exactly a message about the sort of health that I would wish for: the gracefully balanced walk of the serenely wise down life’s way. Serenity and wisdom may be described and promoted, but Jesus himself is no paragon of either social adjustment or blissful transcendence. My savior hangs on a cross, and my salvation has something to do with what put him there, the zeal that ate at him.


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