|John 2:13-22||Read Online|
In the temple complex, He found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and He also found the money changers sitting there. After making a whip out of chords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables. He told those who were selling doves, “Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!”
What makes you angry? Another driver cutting you off in traffic? A disrespectful child? An innocent person wronged?
What makes God angry?
Most of us, if asked to describe God, will use words such as holy, pure, kind, and forgiving. While those words do describe Him, they also leave out significant aspects of His character. When we only look at the gentler aspects of His character, we tend to picture Him as a kindly old man, rather than the all-powerful ruler of the universe.
Yes, God is kind and good and loving, but He also expresses other emotions such as anger. The Bible mentions God’s anger many times, especially toward His own people, whom He loves, when they rebel.
If God experiences anger, then certainly we, who are created in His image, will also experience anger at times. This emotion, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily sinful. However, sometimes the way we express it, or perhaps our reasons for expressing it, might not honor Him. To help us examine whether our own anger is out of line, let’s take a look at one example of God’s perfect, righteous anger.
In today’s passage, we read that Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover. The Passover Feast, sometimes called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is a yearly festival commemorating the time when God freed the Israelites from their slavery to the Egyptians.
When God brought the tenth and final plague (the death of every firstborn) upon the Egyptians, the Israelites were to paint the posts of their doors with the blood of a slaughtered lamb as a sign to the angel of death to pass by them. They were also to make their bread without leaven so they could be ready to leave quickly.
Jewish people came from all over to celebrate the Passover together in Jerusalem. These travelers needed sacrifices to offer in the temple, so some enterprising people sold sacrificial animals to them. They greatly inflated the costs, knowing the people would be forced to buy the animals.
Not only did they overcharge people who had already traveled so far to worship, they did it right in the outer courts, a place designated for the Gentiles, or non-Jewish people, to pray. They were taking advantage of people seeking to worship God and disrupting the worship of others while doing it!
This made Jesus furious. His anger reflected His desire to keep God’s house holy, to protect the worship of the Gentiles, and to stop the outrageous price-gouging that took advantage of right-minded people seeking to worship Him.
Now that we’ve looked at one example of God’s anger, let me ask you again: What makes you angry? Is it injustice, or inconvenience? Does your anger burn to protect God’s name or to protect yours? Do you express anger over significant sin and wrongdoing or things that merely annoy you?
There is such a thing as righteous anger, but for many people anger is self-serving rather than God-serving. Truthfully, our anger seldom looks like God’s anger.
- How did Jesus respond to the money changers?
- What do you think was the biggest reason for His anger? Why?
- How is your anger like Christ’s anger? How is it unlike His?
- What injustices do you fail to get angry about?
- How will you respond differently this week to be more proactive when you see injustice?