Tucked away in the Gospel of John is a story that portrays Jesus in a way that many of us don’t think about Him. The story takes place during Jesus’ great run of miracles leading up to His crucifixion. He had just finished turning water into wine in Galilee.
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” John 2 13-16 NIV, emphasis added
This is not the usual portrayal of Jesus! Normally, he is the calm and serene figure that we picture telling us everything will be alright. This is Jesus on a rampage! (Notice He did not inflict violence on any of the men.) I don’t know about you, but this is the Jesus that I like to think about. He is righteous and has a ferocious faith. Ready to act in the name of the Father. This is a Jesus that reminds us more of an action hero. For some reason, we tend to deny ourselves of thinking about God in this way. But that’s juts what He is! The greatest hero that was, is, and is to come.
I think a lot of us miss this approach to faith. We think we need to be like choir boys and our good deeds will get us to Heaven. But sometimes, like in the story above, action is what’s needed. We are not always called to do the safe thing. In fact, more often than we know, we are called to do the “not safe” thing. God didn’t call his disciples to leave their jobs and follow him for the weekend. He called them to leave their lives (Luke 5) altogether and follow Him indefinitely. That’s not what we think of as the safe decision.
Jesus understood that He was called to actions like these. He, just like us, could not have a passive faith. Faith without action is no faith at all. When we risk everything for God, we have nothing to lose. We cannot lose when God is on our side. As Paul said in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
We need to have a ferocious faith like Jesus did in this story. All to often we are nervous about asking someone to church, or telling a friend that we have been praying for them. We need a bigger picture view of things. In the scheme of your life and all humanity, is one question that makes you a little uncomfortable worth an eternity apart from God? I hope your answer is “no.” To lead a life of ferocious faith does not mean we all have to leave everything and move to the desert. It may, though. But more often, God asks us for things much smaller in the beginning of our walks with Him. He is testing you to see what kind of faith you really have. Is it ferocious or passive?