(This is a repost from Sept. 21, 2006)
I was in a Bible study with some men and we were studying John2:12-25 where Jesus went into the temple and cleared out the money changers and others who were doing business in the temple court. A man asked the question “Is it ever right for Christians to display anger?” The question was not addressed and went unanswered. The question hung in my head; it just wouldn’t go away. I decided to study this question in detail and I will share some of what I’ve learned.
My first question was “Why did Jesus become angry and clear the temple this year?” He obviously had been walking by these people since he was 12 years old. Why this year?
He was acknowledged as Messiah and Prophet by the Lord in the presence of John the Baptist in Chapter One of John. He wore the mantle of the Prophet, King and Messiah. He had the authority to clean out the temple.
What does that mean to us? We have authority and responsibility in our lives also. We are husbands, dads, business owners, church elders, etc. These are our areas of responsibility. If there are cattle and sheep in the narthex of the church, go to the elders; ask them to clean it out. Why? Because it is their area of responsibility and they need to do what they must do. We can’t go through life popping off at everything—we need to be cautious when and if we display anger.
Why cautious? Because I believe God is cautious and gracious. The first two references in the Bible about God’s anger are the same in Exodus and in Numbers. It says the same thing in both places: “The Lord is slow to anger and abounds in love and faithfulness.” Do we do more yelling than abounding? This sounds rich to me, “slow to anger,” oh how Jesus has been slow and patient with me. I have experienced the “abounding” of the Holy Spirit, full, deep and rich in love and faithfulness. Oh Lord, you have been slow and patient with me. Thank you for your “abounding” love and faithfulness.