Wednesday, December 13, 2017

An Angry Jesus

Chuckle: Clerk: "This jug is genuine Indian pottery." Customer: "But it says, 'Made in Cleveland.'" Clerk: "Haven't you ever heard of the Cleveland Indians?"
Quote: "Anger would inflict punishment on another; meanwhile, it tortures itself." --Publilius Syrus

He (Jesus) looked around at them in anger and, (was) deeply distressed (grieved) at their stubborn (hardened) hearts, . . ." (Mark 3:5 NIV).
Anger, in human terms, usually refers to selfish, destructive feelings -- a strong annoyance and a desire to fight back when someone hurts us or opposes us. Such feelings can lead to harmful and objectionable behavior. However, the anger of God is the response of His holiness to the sinful actions of people. When God takes action against sin, it is called "wrath." In the Old Testament, the word translated as "Divine anger" is used 177 times, but the word "anger" is rarely used in the New Testament. Our focal passage is one of those instances. Let's focus on what angers Jesus and how He reacts when angry.
We are told in Scripture that Jesus was without sin (1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 4:15), even though He did become angry on occasion. In our passage we see Jesus' angry reaction after being criticized for healing a man on the Sabbath. The Matthew and Luke accounts of this event leave out the word anger, apparently because they were unwilling to ascribe to Jesus this "human" emotion. But the kind of anger Jesus felt is revealed by His being "deeply distressed (grieved) at their stubborn (hardened) hearts."
Another instance where Jesus showed strong emotions and even anger was when He witnessed the actions of the Temple merchants and money changers. ". . he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons (sacrificial animals). He said to them, It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers'" (Matthew 21:12-13 NIV). Here, Jesus is reacting to the desecration of the holy temple as a place of worship and the injustices against worshipers. He showed God's righteousness indignation.
Anger is a normal human emotion. However, it can lead to sin when we become angry for the wrong reasons and we act in sinful ways. Anger becomes a sin when we allow it to fester until it causes us to become bitter and act in ways harmful to others and/or reflects unfavorably on Jesus Christ and Christianity. "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold" (Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV).
Jesus became angry for the right reasons -- sinful behavior and injustice. Likewise, we should be indignant and even angry when we see people being mistreated, abused, or neglected. Such anger or indignation should motivate us to do everything we can to correct injustice. However, becoming angry to the point of offensive behavior is never justified.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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