The Anger of Jesus

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[Jesus] looked around at [the religious leaders] angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man [with the deformed hand], “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored!” Mark 3:5

Anger and conflict are dance partners. On the street, anger waltzed us into divorce. Our anger-fueled, hip-hop dance gets us busting’ moves toward our ex-wives, lying business colleagues, incompetent lawyers, maybe even ourselves. Our anger dance is usually sinful, destructive, and bent on revenge. But not all anger is destructive.

Jesus became angry. This fact alone should get our attention. We understandably focus on His unconditional love, but we should also note the things that angered our Savior. Re-read Mark 3:5 where Jesus was angry with the established church leaders. Jesus’ anger was directed at their injustice, lack of mercy, unfruitfulness, harm to children, and hard hearts. In today’s passage, Jesus expressed His anger vehemently towards the self-righteous, hard-hearted religious leaders. These leaders were bound to tradition and to preserving their own power. Their stubborn self-importance blinded them to real human need.

Today’s lessons from Jesus center not only on what made Him furious but also on how to avoid being the target of His anger. Our lives must be guided by kindness, mercy, and compassion. Are we so fussy and focused on the form of Sunday worship that we forget the genuine needs in our cities? Any self-satisfaction in our walk with God or any concern about our status in our local church or among others must be brought low in humility to avoid the angry look of Jesus.

There is a place for “angry men and women.” It must be righteous anger, fueled by our hearts being broken and angered by the same things that broke and angered the heart of Jesus.

 

 

 

Jim Vogelzang