Then Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those who were selling and buying there. He pushed over the tables used for currency exchange and the chairs of those who sold doves. He said to them, “It’s written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you’ve made it a hideout for crooks.” People who were blind and lame came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and legal experts saw the amazing things he was doing and the children shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were angry. They said to Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” he answered. “Haven’t you ever read, From the mouths of babies and infants you’ve arranged praise for yourself? Then he left them and went out of the city to Bethany and spent the night there (Matthew 21:12-17, Common English Bible).
Pastor Bob had a reputation in his preaching for being a spirited preacher. His proponents called him fiery and passionate. His critics said he was emotional and angry. One Sunday morning after a particularly hard-hitting and driven sermon Pastor Bob was met at by one of the women of the church who was not fond of Pastor Bob’s emotional style.
“Anger does not become a Godly man,” Edith said.
“But Edith,” the pastor replied, “Even Jesus got angry. Why, one day he went into the temple and overturned the tables of the money changers.”
Edith stood there for a minute thinking and then said, “Yes, Pastor, that is true. And, that is one of the things I don’t like about Jesus.”
There are many people, like Edith, who believe that anger is a sin. In light of today’s lesson I would respond by saying, they are wrong. I cannot think of a more clear example of anger than what we see when Jesus goes in and cleanses the temple. He overturns tables and slings a whip around. He calls the people there crooks. This is not a picture of a calm and reserved man. Let there be no doubt, this is one angry man.
So, if anger is a sin and Jesus got angry then we would also need to reach the conclusion that Jesus committed sin. Peter wrote, “You were called to this kind of endurance, because Christ suffered on your behalf. He left you an example so that you might follow in his footsteps. He committed no sin, nor did he ever speak in ways meant to deceive. When he was insulted, he did not reply with insults. When he suffered, he did not threaten revenge. Instead, he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He carried in his own body on the cross the sins we committed. He did this so that we might live in righteousness, having nothing to do with sin. By his wounds you were healed. Though you were like straying sheep, you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your lives (1 Peter 2:21-25).
It isn’t anger that is the sin. The sin is in what we do with that anger. In the lesson Jesus got angry to bring about change in the temple. All too often, when we get angry it is to advance ourselves. Anger to bring about change in the world is positive and can become positive. There are things in the world that could and should make us angry. The question becomes, how will we respond to our anger.
What makes you angry? What are you doing with your anger?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved