Summary: What caused Jesus to get angry?
We’re going to be talking about anger in this message. When I was a kid, I enjoyed reading Marvel comic books. I can remember when they were only ten cents. Of course, Superman and Batman were my favorites. But I also remember reading about The Incredible Hulk. Cartoonist Stan Lee created The Hulk character in 1962. Since then it has spun off into a television series and several Avenger movies. The Hulk’s alter ego was the mild mannered scientist Dr. Bruce Banner. He had been exposed to radiation so whenever he became stressed or angry he was transformed into a giant green monster. Asked why Hulk was green, Stan Lee reported that it was because green didn’t suggest any racial or ethnic group. In the television series, Dr. Bruce Banner, played by Bill Bixby, used to say, “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” That’s what destructive anger can do. It can transform people into monsters.
You don’t have to teach kids to get angry. It comes encoded in their DNA. If you take a child’s bottle or toy away from them, they’ll pitch a temper tantrum. Sometimes kids learn that temper tantrums are a way to manipulate their parents. One of my best friends growing up was Jimmy Dean—no, not the Sausage King. On day I was at Jimmy’s house and he asked his mother for some money so he could walk a block away to buy us some candy. She refused. That’s when I witnessed my first temper tantrum. Jimmy got down on his belly and started kicking his legs and punching the air with his fists crying, “Pleeeeeease Mommy. You never let me buy candy. You must hate me. I want some candy!”
To my amazement, Jimmy’s mom walked over and said, “Stop crying. Here’s some money, no go get your candy.” I was eight or nine years old at the time, but I realized I had just discovered the golden trick about how to control my parents. I walked home that afternoon and found my mom raking leaves in our front yard. She said, “David, go get another rake and help me.” I didn’t want to rake leaves, and now I had a secret weapon. I started fake crying and fell down on my belly and started kicking my legs and beating the ground with my fists. “You treat me like a slave! It’s just not fair! Why aren’t Judy and Dan raking leaves? I don’t want to rake leaves.”
By this time my mother had moved so she was directly behind me and she took her rake in both hands and started beating me with it like she was trying to kill a snake. This rake wasn’t one of the new plastic ones; it was one of the old metal rakes. As she continued to whale away she said, “Don’t you ever pitch a fit like that again.” Now you take this rake and finish raking this yard before your dad gets home. I said, “Yes ma’am.” That was my first and last temper tantrum.
Jesus never had a temper tantrum, but we’re going to see that He becomes angry. He’s good and mad. Let’s read about it in
Mark 3:1-12. “Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, ‘Stand up in front of everyone.’ Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.”
Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. (The Pharisees and Herodians didn’t get along. The Pharisees were ultraconservatives and the Herodians were the liberal friends of the Romans. It would be like the KKK and NAACP joining forces. That shows how much they wanted to kill Jesus.)
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.