Jesus was really angry.
APRIL 12, 2022
Jesus was really angry. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was author and seminary professor, Steve Brown. And this is Key Life, we’re all about radical grace because of what Jesus has done, God’s not mad at you. Keep listening and that message will set you free to live a life of joy and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. If you’re just joining us, Justin Holcomb and I are just sitting around thinking and talking about the last week of Jesus’ incarnation. And it’s amazing what happened during that week. We all know about the Last Supper, but we sometimes forget that there was a last week. And so, in a devotional way, Justin and I are talking about that. And we’re going to talk about the cleansing of the temple. And I’m reading from Matthew 21, beginning at the 12th verse through the 17th verse. And Matthew writes.
And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna, the son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou has brought perfect praise’?” And leaving them, he went out of this city to Bethany and the lodge there.
Justin Holcomb: So this happens on Monday. We just celebrated Palm Sunday on Monday. So, here we are looking back to, this event happened on a Monday most likely, that’s what Mark tells us, but Steve, what, what stands out to me? Well one, quick question, why was Jesus so angry?
Well, you know, a lot of people use the anger of Jesus to justify their own anger and mostly our anger self-righteous anger. It’s because we’ve been hurt, it’s because, and Jesus is never that way. Now there’s nothing wrong with anger, if you deal with it quickly. In fact, Paul said in Ephesians, be angry.
Justin Holcomb: It’s a command. He tells them to be angry.
Yeah. But don’t let the sun go down on your anger, but this is not a justification. This was, and you mentioned when we talked about this yesterday, that Jesus wept over Jerusalem. This was passion of one who cared, who saw what was happening with people who were destroying their lives and the lives of others. And his anger was directed because they were hurt, not because he was going to be hurt. So don’t use it to justify your anger. Although on occasion, I do that myself.
Justin Holcomb: And what’s fascinating about this, is that they’re here for Passover and price gouging is happening. The religious people are taking advantage of those that are trying to just be faithful and respond to Yahweh, celebrating his goodness of redeeming them from slavery. I mean, so the whole celebration is not domineering, it’s celebration of freedom. And here you have price gouging. But what I love is that Jesus comes in, he’s not coming in as a religious pilgrim, he’s coming in as if he has the authority to cleanse the temple.
To do exactly what he did.
Justin Holcomb: So just like yesterday, he comes in as a King, as a Prophet, as a Victor, and now he’s going into the temple and cleansing out the temple, which is a religious thing. Not, you know, it has a hint of his role as a Priest, of cleansing the temple where sacrifices happen. But what I want to, you talked about the crying over Jerusalem. The first half of this is about Jesus being angry. And I think people do misuse that, but the rest of it from verse 14 to the rest is you have the blind, the lame you have these children. I mean, the tenderness of Jesus here is amazing. So there’s gotta be something for people to hear about, the anger of Jesus and the tenderness of Jesus, not being polar opposites, but belonging together.
Manifestations of the same love.
Justin Holcomb: So the passion that was anger, is the passion of the tenderness. How powerful do you think it might be for someone, cause when I’m sad or harmed by someone, it’s always nice to know that God cares and he’s sorrowful, but I kind of want the person who is sad for me to also be angry and powerful on my behalf and do something about it. It’s one thing to be like, oh, thanks, mom, you love me, but you can’t fix the problem that’s happening. Right? But then when I call customer service, I’m like, you can actually solve this problem, but you don’t love me. But to have someone who is loving and powerful together, and imagine I’m thinking of listeners, just thinking through this going, wait a second. I used to think anger is always a sin. It’s not.
Justin Holcomb: I mean, there’s an invitation here that Jesus is angrier than you are, he does it right, you can join him in his anger, in God’s anger. That’s a great invitation, participate in his anger. And that’s one way to do anger properly.
You know, God’s into justice. He really is. And that wrath is expressed sometimes when you write your books on abuse and sexual issues and you and Lindsey, there is, when you talk about those issues, you’re angry. But the thing we forget sometimes is Jesus is angry too. And we see it in this text. We see what we generally describe as love, but what we don’t describe as love, which is his anger.
Justin Holcomb: And what’s really neat about this passage to me, is a fulfillment of God in the Old Testament. Jesus is acting here like God did in the Old Testament. God said, I hate oppression and violence and misusing of people, especially when they’re vulnerable. The people who are going in they’re vulnerable, they have to pay these prices to do these sacrifices, to be a good Jew who’s worshiping at the Passover. And for Jesus to be angry and refer to this as his Father’s house is a den of thieves. He’s doing what God did in the Old Testament, which is a great statement again about who he is. We like Jesus, because we like the message of grace and we like what he does, but he does and says the things he does and says because he’s also God, he’s not just a really nice man. He’s not just neat prophet. He’s the God man, which is putting these together. But the same thing we’re saying about anger, I think that goes along with his sorrow and tenderness.
He just cried and yeah, it’s all a part of who he is. And we must, when we worship him, see those facets of his personality. Just so good, by the way, you know, I said that we use it to justify our anger and you can’t do that unless it’s for somebody else or justice issue. But you know, every time we add a lot of concerts in the church and a lot of authors and we would sell their books or their CDs in the narthex of the church. And I don’t think I’ve ever done that. And I’m literally, I’ve done it hundreds of times that somebody in the church didn’t jump all over me and say we were doing money changing in the church. They misinterpreted it too, didn’t they?
Justin Holcomb: They sure did.
I just wanted to feel better about that, so I bring it up to us scholar. So if it happens to me again, I can say on the authority of God, the Scripture and Justin Holcomb the Biblical scholar, sit on it and go tell somebody who cares.
Justin Holcomb: Don’t send your enemies to me. I’ve got enough, I don’t need yours too.
Justin Holcomb: But the beauty of this, I mean, we’re thinking about this devotionally, there’s plenty of things we could say about, that are interesting about the texts, that are fascinating, that we would just nerd out on. But just like we are invited to participate in God’s anger against sin and oppression, against us and other people. So we’re invited to be angry, but we’re participating in God’s anger. And we’re told in Romans, vengeance is mine says the Lord, you can get off the hamster wheel of revenge. God is actually holy. And he cares about this more than you do. Same thing with sorrow. We keep on thinking that we have to, we have to emotionally edit ourselves. We can’t be angry. We can’t be too sad. We have to be a little stoic and a little bit tender. God is also sorrowful. He, Jesus is a picture of this, but Jesus has a picture of what God was doing in the Old Testament the whole time. He’s weeping. He’s sad. You are invited to be sorrowful and participate in God’s sorrow and grief over the effects of sin. He cares about it more than you do. That’s the we need.
There’s a wonderful prayer in The Rabbi’s Manual. And I love it, it says this.
Thou art great and we are small. Thou art eternal and we tarry but just a little while. Thou art everything and we are nothing. Thou art infinite and we are finite. But with all of the thy power and greatness and sovereignty, thou dost bend down low and listen to the sound of our tears as they strike the ground.
Is that cool or what, and that’s what you’re saying,
Justin Holcomb: The Lord is a servant, it’s not one or the other, I mean, and that’s what we need. We need powerful love. I don’t want just power cause that’s scary. I don’t want just sentimental love because that doesn’t make anything happen. I want powerful love and that’s what we get in Jesus Christ.
So a good devotional thought that we can leave with our listeners. And I think it’s a great one, is that you should pray during this Holy Week and during my life, let me be angry where you’re angry and help me to cry where you cry. That dog will hunt. And we’re outta here. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you both. That was Steve Brown and Justin Holcomb continuing to guide us through the events of Holy Week. Such good stuff and we still have more to come. Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow. And of course, if you tuned in expecting to hear Steve’s teaching from the book of Acts, don’t despair, we will resume that journey next week. But during this week, as we’re stepping away from that, let me ask you, have you gotten your copy of Steve’s guide to Acts? It’s called Through the Eyes of Grace: Acts & Romans. It covers early church leadership, the Pentecost, the fellowship of believers, persecution. All of that. In addition, you’ll get Steve’s overview of Romans. You’re going to love this booklet. And it is free, but you have to claim it to get it. So call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org to ask for that booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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