Summary: The righteous anger of Christ.
Monday – “Jesus Clears the Temple”
2nd in a Series on “Passion Week”
I grew up around golf. When I was 13-years-old my uncle gave me my first summer job working for him on a golf course he was building. Every summer after that for the next several years I continued to work there. Working on a golf course can give a person a wealth of knowledge.
My teenage years were riddled with learning experience after learning experience there at the golf course. The great outdoors, the smell of fresh cut grass, the beautiful rolling, plush green hills, the finely manicured greens, fairways, tees, and roughs… and, the people. Not only did I learn a lot about golf course maintenance, by experience, I earned a Ph.D. in Psychology. I learned how people respond when they’re under pressure.
There were times when golf course etiquette was completely traded in for the ever popular “lose control and act like a madman” routine. There’s something intriguing about watching a full grown man crumble to pieces over a tiny ball that’s 1 ½ inches in diameter. I’ve seen guys thrown their club farther than they hit their ball out of sheer frustration and anger. I’ve seen them break their club over their knee. I’ve even seen people get so angry that they thrown their golf bag (clubs and all) into the nearest water hazard they can find.
This reminds me of a story of “a group of golfers watching a fellow who was having some difficulty on this particular course. The frustration became too much by the 13th hole, as this poor guy placed shot after shot into the pond that lay between him and the green that, finally, in exasperation he picked up his golf bag, spun around like a discus thrower, and heaved the whole thing into the middle of the lake, and stormed off the course, apparently forever.
“Moments later, however, he returned, and in complete embarrassment waded into the pond. He had ‘come to his senses.’ He fished out the dripping bag, unzipped a pocket on the side, took out his car keys, and flung the bag once again, this time even further than before. Then he went home” (Michael Hodgin, 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, 1994), 167-168).
Anger can make us do some of them most stupid things. It can distort the seemingly common day experiences of life and make it seem like the worlds against us; that the world is closing in all around us. Anger can cause us to yell at the ones we love, say words that only a sailor would dare utter, and fight for insignificant causes.
Like the young mother, and her kindergarten-aged son who were driving down the street. The inquisitive little boy asked a revealing question. He asked, "Mommy, why do the idiots only come out when Daddy drives?”
Now, anger usually gets a bad rap. All our thoughts on anger usually don’t result in positive thinking on this subject. And, in reality, anger, in and of itself, is usually not good. And we should ever be on our guard to keep this emotion, and its responses, in check. However, having said this, there is an anger that is good and it’s known as righteous anger. It’s the one exception to this rule. And the key here is that righteous anger isn’t selfish in nature. Righteous anger comes as a result of the selfless pursuit of righteousness in all aspects of life. For instance, righteous anger is ignited when God is dishonored; when the sacrifice of the Holy is cast aside in favor of the counterfeit gods of our culture, like: money, success, and fame. Righteous anger is incited by acts of prejudice and discrimination toward others.
Another instance of righteous anger is found in our passage of scripture for today. In this passage we see that Jesus had a righteous anger. He was incensed with a holy anger that was birthed out of the money changer’s and merchant’s contempt for God’s house, which was to be a place of prayer.
Read with me if you will…
Matthew 21:12-17 (NLT)
Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the merchants and their customers. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the stalls of those selling doves.  He said, "The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be called a place of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves!"
 The blind and the lame came to him, and he healed them there in the Temple.  The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the little children in the Temple shouting, "Praise God for the Son of David." But they were indignant  and asked Jesus, "Do you hear what these children are saying?"