February 27 – Personality of Jesus – Righteous Anger

Read John 2:13-17

If you are like me when you think about Jesus, you picture Him smiling, maybe laughing with His disciples, reaching out to heal someone or welcoming the children to come to Him.  You don’t usually picture Him as being angry. But, why not? Being angry is a part of being human just like being happy, sad, loving, or tired.  Jesus was divine but He was also fully human so, of course, He felt at times all the emotions that go along with being human.

But it is not the fact that He got angry, but it is why and at what He was angry about that counts.

Who did Jesus get angry with?  It wasn’t His fellow Jews.  He saw them as sheep without a shepherd.   It wasn’t His disciples who He had to explain things to over and over again or even the teachers of the law who were plotting against Him during His whole ministry.   It wasn’t even Judas who betrayed Him! Nor was it against the ones who crucified Him since He asked God from the blood-stained cross to “Forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”

It was directed at what was going on at the temple that day. What did He see that caused that reaction?  He saw people who were going to the temple to worship God, but were being forbidden to do so for the sake of the almighty dollar.  Leaders who were put in that position to help people become closer to God were cheating the people and lining their own pockets. This was an offense against God Himself and the temple.

Yes, Jesus got angry, and, even though He acted, His anger wasn’t directed towards the people who were running the money changer tables at the temple.  It was against what they were doing.   Jesus wasn’t showing vengeful, out of control anger but righteous anger.  Righteous anger is defined as anger that is directed towards what angers God Himself.  It stems from an anger that arises when we witness an offense against God or His Word.  It is directed towards the sin not the sinner.

Jesus had come to Earth to bring people closer to God, but what was being done in the temple that day was putting needless road blocks between God and His people.

Even though Jesus showed anger, it is good to note He did not sin. No animals or persons were harmed, no property destroyed, and no money was taken!  His anger was directed at the sin, not the sinner.

Everyone at some time or another gets angry.  When we do, it is good to stop, take a deep breath, think and pray before taking any action.  What is it you are angry about?  Is your anger righteous or self-seeking?  If self-seeking, maybe you need to redirect it.  If righteous, an offense to God or His Word, then put on the full armor of God and boldly, wisely, prayerfully address it! Don’t let it simmer to the point of boiling over!

Pat Arnold

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