What are we to make of Psalm 69? Of special interest is Ps 69:5-12 of which was remembered by the disciples (John 2:17) after Jesus drove the money-changers from the Temple:
O God, you know how foolish I am;
my sins cannot be hidden from you.
Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me,
O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated,
O God of Israel.
For I endure insults for your sake;
humiliation is written all over my face.
Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me;
they treat me like a stranger.
Passion for your house has consumed me,
and the insults of those who insult you have
fallen on me.
When I weep and fast,
they scoff at me.
When I dress in burlap to show sorrow,
they make fun of me.
I am the favorite topic of town gossip,
and all the drunks sing about me.
The Hebrew word translated in this version as ‘passion’, derives from the Hebrew word, ha’n>qi (qin´â) , for which ‘jealousy’, ‘envy’, or ‘ardent zeal’ more properly reflects the understanding of the Hebrews in Jesus’s day. A deep appreciation of this word’s meaning has significant theological meaning in that it addresses the question of whether one can be too zealous in his love for the LORD?
Jesus’s behavior in the temple exemplifies the meaning of qin´â and the Hebrew scriptures were undoubtedly on the minds of His disciples when Jesus went after the ungodly in the temple (John 2:17). God expects man to return his love. However, the love God desires is not an emotion. Rather, love for God is a structured, covenantal relationship defined by both ritual and deed. To love God, therefore, is to conform our lives to His will. The word, qin´â, takes this understanding of love for God one step further in that it denotes a passionate, all-consuming behavior whose ultimate objective is to protect God’s honor in the face of the ungodly acts of men and nations. The acts of Phinehas, Jehu, and Saul (2 Sam 21:2) are emblematic of this kind of zeal. Indeed Phinehas and Jehu are described as having such ardent zeal for their LORD that the horrible deeds they commit, the violation of His commands, are overlooked.
The message though is clear: These men stirred the wrath of God who is so “zealous for His holy name” (Ezek 39:25) that they not only escaped punishment but were exalted. The godly (esp. Messiah) are consumed, therefore, by an ardent zeal to exalt God by maintaining purity of worship (Psa 69:9), and obedience respecting the whole of God’s word (Psa 119:139). Are we then surprised that Isaiah’s characterize of the coming messiah is as if He had “wrapped himself in a cloak” of qin´â (Isa 59:17)
Hard though it might be to contemplate, Jesus’s actions in the temple mirrored those of Phinehas, Jehu, Elija, and Saul before Him. As the Messiah, Jesus, imbued as He was with an ardent zeal for God, was to protect God’s holy name and His holy temple even at the cost of His own life.
Now, go and study