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

February 26 – Personality of Jesus – Gethsemane

Read Matthew 26:36-46

Gethsemane. 

The word means “oil press”. It’s fitting, if you ask me. The last place Jesus went with His disciples before the nails and the cross and the tomb and the death and the life and the victory. Jesus led them to this Gethsemane garden, where He would experience the press of anguish and dread like none of us have ever or will ever know. This Gethsemane, where Jesus battled His will and let the Father have it all.

The fight for my soul and for yours began long before Calvary. Jesus’ three words declared the victory from the cross.

“It is finished.”

But hours before those three words, He spoke five others to the Father in a private moment on His face in that Gethsemane garden, begging God to take away what He knew had to be done. Five words of surrender in which He literally gave the Father His own desire so that He could accomplish what He’d come to earth to do.

“Yet not as I will…” Five words. And then four more. …”(B)ut as you will.” And that one sentence of surrender propelled the exchange of His life for ours.

Jesus’ whole life, He had leaned on the Father, followed His way. He always knew exactly where He was going – through Calvary and the tomb – before conquering death itself with His own life that lasts forever for you and for me. But first, He went through Gethsemane. Because surrender always precedes obedience to God.

That’s where Jesus laid it all out for His Father. Left it right there on the ground in that garden where His will was pressed to the place of surrender. And there He surrendered it all.

Are you pressed to the point where surrender is really your only choice? Jesus knows that kind of pressure. Follow Him through it and you will emerge with the freedom that lives real and true on this side of heaven and then forevermore.

Bria Wasson

February 25 – Personality of Jesus

Read Hebrews 4:14-16

“No one understands like Jesus. He’s a friend beyond compare. Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for you there.”

Over fifty years ago, John W. Peterson penned these words into a song following a bitter experience. Mr. Peterson gave this account of the song.

“I began to feel very alone and forsaken. Suddenly, I sensed the presence of the Lord in an unusual way and my mind was diverted from my difficulties to His faithfulness and sufficiency. Soon the thought occurred to me that He fully understood and sympathized with my situation- in fact, no one could ever completely understand or care as did He.”

My husband was only twenty-one when he experienced the tragic loss of his mother. He recalls hearing the radio play that comforting song soon after she crossed into glory. He was able to stay the course because he could cast all his care on Jesus. Why? Because Jesus, fully God, was also fully man and can sympathize with all of our weaknesses and difficulties.

Three words summarize the book of Hebrews:

Jesus is better.

Jesus is better than all the Old Testament symbols that pointed to Him. As Moses was instructed on Mount Sinai, the tribe of Levi was set apart for priestly duties. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies to offer the blood of a spotless lamb for the sins of the people and his own sins. Hebrews chapter 5 says that the high priest can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided since he himself also is beset with weakness.

But, as the theme of the book tells us, Jesus is better. When Jesus stepped out of heaven, He chose to come, not as a fully grown, mature man, but as a baby. He was dependent on His parent’s nurturing. He ran and played and probably fell down and scraped His knee. He learned a trade as a craftsman from His earthly father. He had friends and enemies. He laughed and cried. Jesus embraced all of our humanness, but, because He was also fully God, never sinned. For this reason, He is the greatest high priest. He understands all of our weaknesses but, because He has no weakness or sin, He not only offered the sacrifice, but He became the sacrifice. John called Him the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Only Jesus could be both the priest and the offering.

We all want an understanding friend when we encounter difficulty. We long for someone who accepts us and will never let us down. But, as I have heard from one of my favorite Bible teachers, the content of contentment is Christ. We will always be disappointed if we look to others to meet our needs that only Jesus can meet. Is Jesus your friend? Do you come boldly before His throne and find His understanding help in your time of need? May your heart be filled with the chorus, No one is so near, so dear as Jesus; cast your every care on Him.

You can give Him all your cares because He fully understands.

Charline Engle