Message by Rev. Erny McDonough
Fisherman’s Chapel, Port O’Connor, Texas
I Cor. 13:5 & 6 “[Love] … is not easily angered. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth.”
Intro: This is our fourth study concerning Anger Management, and we have not gotten to the Management stage yet! We have learned that Anger is a good emotion used both by God Almighty and today we are seeing it used by Jesus Christ. The greatest problem with anger is that it often covers up other emotions like fear, frustration, and anxiety. It is only as we learn the difference between the beneficial anger and the destructive anger that we can become what we were created to be.
The first week, we saw that our society is so against anger that most is viewed as immature or uncivilized. We looked at the damaging effects of sand bagging, and noted that it often brings on additional problems like clinical depression and bipolar disorders. It can fan the flame of paranoia and prejudice and is often expressed by either fight-or-flight.
The second week, we examined fight-or-flight responses and saw that anger is often expressed in ways that it is not easily identified. We saw that threats, bullying, and some manic behaviors are ways some express their aggressive anger. We saw that manipulation, self-blame, and obsessive behaviors are ways some express their passive anger.
Last week, we saw examples of God’s anger as seen in the pages of the Old Testament. We recognized that God banishing Adam and Eve from the Garden after they sinned was an act of His love. He did not want them to have to spend eternity struggling with sin. God dealt harshly with Korah and his companions because He wanted His children kept from open rebellion. God refused to allow Moses to enter the Promised Land because He needed a leader who would listen closely and follow Him in new revelations.
Today, we will look at three (3) examples of anger in the New Testament – two from Jesus Christ and one from the Holy Spirit.
I. Jesus Cleansing The Temple
A. (John 2) When Jesus was beginning His earthly ministry, He went to the Jerusalem Temple to observe Passover. When he got to the outer courts, the only place He could enter because He was neither a Levite nor from the linage of Aaron, He found so much noise, turmoil, and cheating that He was sickened. He had gone to pray, but found sheep, cattle, and doves being sold and people selling temple coins for a handsome profit. This practice was not found in the Old Testament, but began after the Jewish Captivity when they returned and rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple. So enraged that “Our Father’s House” was being treated as some common street market, Jesus wove a whip from the cattle bedding, and symbolically whipped the merchants and drove them out.
Jesus was not just throwing an angry fit, but was doing what He could to return God’s people back to Godly worship. The sheep and cattle were there as sacrifices, but God did not want people simply to buy their gifts – He wanted them to put the time and effort in raising an offering without spot or blemish. Some have noted that Jesus treated the dove sellers different as if He had special feelings for doves, but there is no indication from Scripture to support such. He treated them different simply because the doves were caged. The moneychangers were providing a service to the worshippers, but were cheating those who came to get the temple coins. Remember God’s two laws, (Love God and Treat your neighbor as yourself) these people were breaking both of them.
B. (Matthew 21 – Mark 11 – Luke 19) Four days before His death on Calvary, again Jesus saw God’s House. This time He did not make a symbolic whip. On His way to the Cross – to die for the sins of the people, and seeking a place to pray, He only found a “den of robbers.” His heart was broken and He attempted to set the matter right.
II. Pharisees And Herodians (Mark 3)
Jesus had just dealt with these same people when they accused Him and His disciples of breaking the Sabbath by taking some grain and rubbing them together to separate the chaff from the grain to eat. He had tried to explain to them that God had made the Sabbath as a day of rest for the benefit, not the hardship, of the people. Now, He enters the Temple, and these same guys were watching to see if He would break another of their Sabbath laws.
Jesus notices that there is a man there with a shriveled hand. This man can not do what others can because he is handicapped. Having compassion on the man, Jesus tells him to stretch it out, and when the man obeys, his hand is restored.
The Scriptures are plain in explaining the reason for Jesus’ anger. Different translation versions state it as: ( KJV) ” being grieved for the hardness of their hearts” (ASV) “at the hardening of their hearts” (Beck) “because their minds were closed” (Phil) “ deeply distressed by their callousness” (TAY) “ deeply disturbed by their indifference to human need“. Jesus saw this for what it truly was – they just did not like Jesus and were looking for any reason to have Him killed. Jesus was trying to help others not follow their spiritual leaders directions, because they were leading them places they should not go! Jesus wants us to be compassionate – to heal not kill, to do good not evil.
III. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5)
The Church that Jesus was building was new. There had been a great revival begun on the Day of Pentecost, when 3,000 were added to the Church. It was continuing to grow when the Church was multiplying as people were being added daily. With this growth came great persecution. Peter and John had already been before the Sanhedrin and told never to mention Jesus’ name again. The Church was experiencing great financial problems, so much that several were selling their possessions and giving it to the Church so the needs could be met – they understood the Church needed money!
Along comes two, who claimed to be a part of The Way, as it was then known, who saw an opportunity to make themselves look good. They were apparently looking for power or fame. They sold a piece of property, told everyone what they had done and made people believe they had given all. In truth, they had kept part of the money from that sell for themselves.
It was not wrong for them to keep part of the money – the wrong was that they were trying to make people believe that they were doing something that they were not doing.
You remember that by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Peter pronounced they were lying and would drop dead! Peter did not kill them – the Holy Spirit killed them!
Why? As long as you refuse to admit your wrong, you can never have an opportunity to be saved! The Holy Spirit’s job is to bring us to salvation – No one can come to the Father except the Spirit draws him. Had they been allowed to follow the popular paths, they would never have become followers of Jesus! Had others seen they could gain advantages through lying, others would also not have been truly saved! God can not stand hypocrisy! He is willing to forgive, but don’t try to hide sin, because He will expose them in order to get you to confess and forsake them!
Conclusion: Yes, God got angry in the Old Testament and Jesus and the Holy Spirit got angry in the New Testament! And they acted on their anger in ways that were meant to be redemptive! God is never vindictive, but His nature is always to be loving, caring, and wanting the best for His people. When we understand that God does everything out of His heart of love, we will better understand His actions. When we see what makes God angry, we will better understand things that should make us angry.