1. Feelings are neither right nor wrong, it’s how we express them that can make for a win-or-lose situation. Righteous anger is our moral response to the mistreatment of others; unrighteous anger is our defensive and self-serving response when our ego has been attacked. For openers, choose (1) or (2) to share with the group:
    1. A time when you experienced or expressed righteous anger—on either the giving or receiving end.
    2. A time when you experienced or expressed unrighteous (self-serving) anger—on either the giving or receiving end.


This is the first of at least two times that Jesus cleansed the temple. This happened near the beginning of his ministry, soon after the calling of his disciples and his first miracle at the wedding at Cana. This temple was the third of its kind; this one was completed by Herod the Great in 20 B.C. Spanning 30 acres, Herod’s temple contained four concentric courts ringed by massive walls. Therein, Jesus opposed profiteering over animal sacrifices in the temple courtyard, the only place Gentiles (outsiders) could worship. Animal sacrifices had to be approved by temple inspectors and bought from certified vendors. But this money-changing provision was not the problem per se, but rather vendors gouging the people with price hikes, even 20 times what it cost to buy a dove outside the temple complex.


God’s Story

Have one person read John 2: 12-22. Imagine the loud, crazy scene as the story is read.

Finding My Story in God’s Story

  1. To the extent this temple-clearing story has a parallel or functional equivalent in your life or current events, where are you in this story?
    1. I’m a Gentile (outsider), wandering halls, looking to hear the teacher of the day.
    2. I’m feeling unprepared, with nothing to offer, so looking for an animal vendor.
    3. I’m stunned and disgusted by riots/mayhem; I don’t like disturbing the peace.
    4. I’m a law & order guy, so I want the cops to restore that, whatever it takes.
    5. Other: ________.

  1. As Jesus was overthrowing the tables and shouting, how would you have reacted if you had been (choose one) a vendor? … a worshipper? … a temple guard?
    1. I’d fear all the mayhem and call for backup to restore law and order.
    2. I’d be disturbed, as I came to pray, make a peace offering, hear good teaching.
    3. I’d be attentive; this is quite the dramatic show and tell, so I’m listening now!
    4. I’d be angry over lost profits, too; so, I’d find a way to get rid of this guy.
    5. Other: ________.

  1. As an attentive part of the temple crowd, what would you be learning about Jesus?
    1. He’s a man’s man, a tough guy, a rabble-rouser who gets angry for good reasons.
    2. He has his priorities straight; the main thing is the main thing—worshipping God.
    3. With show and tell, he gets his message across, like an Old Testament prophet.
    4. Nothing impartial or passively neutral about Jesus; he sides with the poor.
    5. Other ________.

  1. What do you think Jesus meant by saying, “Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days”? In what ways could he have been misunderstood, even by you, had you been there?
    1. The true temple is not made of stone—but then why destroy the old one?
    2. He is stating his destiny and letting others know how this is going to end.
    3. His overstatement of the case represents a challenge to leaders.
    4. His actions are open to (mis)interpretation.
    5. Other: ________.

  1. If the Tough Jesus were to clear out or clean up your life today, where would he start?
    1. My thought life–I am prone to wander.
    2. My finances—they are such a mess anyway.
    3. How I treat my family—anger can bring out the worst in me.
    4. My work life—I prioritize profits over people.
    5. My worship life—I want to be entertained and am so easily distracted.
    6. Other: ________.

  1. What injustices would cause you, like Jesus, to “overturn tables” and speak out?
    1. The poor are treated unjustly; I’d do all I could to defend their cause.
    2. Outsiders and people of other races are mistreated; I’d be a welcoming host.
    3. Access to goods and services is inequitable; I’d address those inequities.
    4. Authorities must be held accountable for injustice; I’d speak truth to power.
    5. My church caters to consumers, not worship. I’d change that by ____________.
    6. Other: ________.

Our Story

8. Who in your life helps you to identify your passion/anger and what to do with it? And how do they manage to do that? (Mandate? Magic wand? Modeling? Misdirection?)

    1. My friend ________ by _______________.
    2. My spouse ________ by _______________.
    3. My pastor ________ by ________________.
    4. Sadly, I am accountable to no one.
    5. Other: __________.

9. Where and how is God calling you to get involved and speak out today?

    1. To reach people for Christ
    2. To get involved politically
    3. To find ways to help those in need
    4. To bring change to my church
    5. To clean up my own life
    6. Other: ________.

10. Between now and when this group next meets, how can this group pray for and support you in taking up the cause of a Tough Jesus?