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Anger Can Move You to Action

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Anger Can Move You to Action

When you look at the ministry of Jesus about the only people He ever got angry at were those who loved worship more than they loved man. The Pharisees were in that group. They loved their rules. They loved their worship. But they didn’t love people.

So, what did Jesus do at the beginning and at the end of His ministry? He thoroughly cleansed the temple (John 2). This story is borderline bazaar. The same man who said, “turn the other cheek” turned over tables. The same man who said, “Love your neighbor” physically drove the moneychangers out of the temple!

Jesus’ anger moved Him into action. And Jesus paid a dear price for it. This act of anger was a challenge to their authority. It so infuriated the Jews that it motivated them to begin planning His murder.

Sometimes godly anger will lead us to do what we would otherwise not do, it will lead us out of our comfort zone so we will FIGHT the good FIGHT.

In the “good fight” the shock value very often leads to change. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s peaceful protest stirred an entire nation into action and laws changed, hearts changed, and life got better for the powerless.

In this story, Jesus did something shocking to challenge God’s people and stir up their thinking. Jesus knew that three years from this Passover, He would become the Passover lamb slain for the sins of the whole world.

The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. He found those who were selling cattle, sheep, and pigeons in the temple courtyard. He also found moneychangers sitting there. 15 He made a whip from small ropes and threw everyone with their sheep and cattle out of the temple courtyard. He dumped the moneychangers’ coins and knocked over their tables.[1]

Jesus was very aware that He lived in a dangerous world. He needed to be smart, but He also knew He needed to speak up. So He did. The Old Testament Jewish form of worship involved bringing a living sacrifice to the house of worship; cattle, sheep, and pigeons. This was part of the worship but some had turned it into personal gain.

What was Jesus so offended by? Was it the fact they were bringing all those messy animals into the house of God and it would get dirty? No. Jesus was offended because these men were exploiting the guilt of the worshippers. They were profiting from it. That’s what angered Him!

It’s good for us to examine ourselves:

  • What motivates my anger? The true condition of our heart is exposed by the things that anger us.
  • Do I primarily get angry about the things that inconvenience my life, or am I angered by the injustice that the powerless experience?

The last night we were in Athens, Greece we saw a large group police in riot gear coming by. There were 2,000 protestors. Our guide said, “It’s a challenge but what are those poor people supposed to do? I would do anything for my family!”

There are so many thorny issues in every society. As followers of Christ we must examine every issue through the lens of biblical values, not just through our own personal opinion.

It’s really not so important how I feel about an issue. What’s most important is, how God feels about it?

  • How would God have me to think about this matter?
  • And what, if anything, does God want me to do about it?

[1] John 2:14 GW


About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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