Summary: Jesus anger wasn’t about selling things; it was about the evil vendors preying upon the innocent. When barriers go up relationship is broken.
John 2:13-22 When the Tables Come Tumbling Down
I would hazard a guess that when most of us think of Jesus, we picture the soft spoken, peace loving, gentle as a lamb, Savior. Always smiling, always patient, always kind. There is no doubt that Christ had a side of Him that was all of those things. But this morning’s Scripture is far from the peace loving, gentle as a lamb, always smiling Savior.
If there was any “stereo-type” of Jesus that I could correct, it is that stereo type of lamb-like meekness. Yes, part of Him was those things, but more often than not, Christ was confrontational with folks. But it is difficult for us to understand confrontation without vengeful anger. It’s difficult for us to understand because that’s the only kind of anger most of us have ever seen, or heard, or been a part of.
Christ was not a timid mouse. Christ came to not only upset the tables in the Temple, He came to upset the world’s way of thinking. He confronted people every day of His life on earth. But you see, the only ones who had that evil, vengeful kind of anger within them, were the ones Christ was confronting!
We have grown soft in our Christianity today. We have held up Christ as the great peace maker, and justified our actions by saying we are trying to imitate Christ. Trouble is, we are way off the mark, because I think it can be said that Christ went out every day knowing that He was going to disagree with someone he came in contact with. So if you truly want to imitate Christ, the thing that you need to change the most is simply getting rid of the selfish, evil, vengeful, anger that it seems is the only kind many of us know.
The Scripture this morning is a showing of “righteous” anger. You probably have heard that term before, but it’s the kind of anger where you are justified being upset with some circumstance, or action, or situation, or person. But righteous anger differs because it is devoid of any kind of evil. It has no motives of forcing your will upon anyone, it lacks any selfish “my way or no way” sentiments, and it has none of the hurt that is always involved in “un-righteous” anger.
Have you ever thought about that? The anger most of us feel today always has some kind of hurt attached to it.
Someone says an unkind or unjustified thing to you, and you get angry. But just before the anger hit, if you’re honest, there was a wound that had been inflicted first.
You are treated unfairly at work and you react in that suppressed anger. Why? It is probably because your feelings have been hurt by the injustice you are perceiving in a supervisor’s or co-workers actions.
You get angry at a parent, or a spouse, or a brother or sister because they prevent you from doing something. But if you are honest, isn’t the feeling that they don’t trust your judgment the real reason for your anger?
Someone says something that seems to make you feel inferior or threatened in your judgment. Could it be that your anger is the result of the hurts inflicted by others in your past, and their judgment of you when you were younger? How many of us hear the “parent tapes” in our head -- no matter how old we get -- when we do something that our parents would criticize?
You see all of those anger moments really started out as a spiritual injury to our innermost beings. A hurt that touched us to the core. A word that dredges up old memories of stern parents, old classmates, or past friendships that turned sour.
Our emotions are so quick, so conditioned, that almost all of the time our anger reacts so quickly that we don’t even realize it began with hurt and pain.
That is the negative, dark, brooding, and most of all, destructive anger that is so prevalent in today’s world.
There have been thousands of case studies done on the escalating anger in our world. Gang bangers who are a walking time bomb of anger are interviewed by experts, and the studies all lead to one thing. Personal power is the only way they can get any feelings of worth in their life. Their surroundings of poverty, stress, lack of education, and most of all lack of a loving environment lead them to seek out validation of their own worth in seeking a kind of fearful respect that they equate with self-worth.
Those same experts interview those who have escaped the same homes, the same streets, the same environment without joining the gangs or resorting to violence, and they ask, “What was the difference?” The answer? Someone in their early lives – a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, a coach – someone took the time to tell them they had worth, they were good at something, someone believed in them and their abilities. And most often that “someone” not only spoke the words, but lived out the meaning in their own life. That “someone” put aside their own needs, their own time, and they realized the importance and the impact of simply having someone in your life that would say, “Good job, well done.”