Reading: John 2:13-22
I get angry, mostly regarding petty or selfish matters. On social media there is a regular beat of moral outrage regarding public matters, from people with strong opinions and low investment. These expressions of anger can carry the sharp smell of self-righteousness. What might we learn from Jesus regarding righteous anger?
As the time approached Passover, Jesus went to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate. The Temple was a place for worship, prayer and dealing with sin. What Jesus found instead was it had become a place of profiteering. Jesus’ response was one of calculated intention. He wound a whip and “drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.”
Jesus anger was not grandstanding, nor on trend, nor opinionated with low investment. The disciples watched Jesus raise chaos and recalled his anger as zeal. Zeal for God’s house, God’s glory, and his purposes. Jesus’ anger confronted a Temple system which had lost its way. He pointed to himself as the new way and new Temple of God.
Anger can be harnessed to confront evil and mobilise change. The key we see in Jesus is his zeal and high investment is focussed entirely on God. He is prepared to not just clear a temple but lay down his life for the purposes of God. I do not think anger and outrage should ever be a habit. But I am not so naïve to believe there is never a time for righteous anger. If it comes, may God give us the wisdom, courage, and humility to bring forth the zeal of our Lord Jesus Christ.