We are looking at the humanity of Jesus because we need to understand that He understands us. He is not someone viewing us at a distance and unable to feel what we feel. He became a human and lived some 33 years as a human being needing to breathe, eat, drink, and sleep like all of us need to do.
We saw that as a man He demonstrated compassion toward the leper, reached out and touched him, and healed him of his disease. He learned obedience and submitted Himself to His parents, His religious leaders, the Roman Government to the extent that was necessary. He experienced joy especially allowing the children to come to Him. And as we learned yesterday, He was tempted. Tempted by satan in the desert after a 40-day fast and tempted in the garden before being captured and imprisoned.
There are plenty of times in the Gospels where we see Jesus expressing anger. We are not told that He hit anybody. However, He did demonstrate some violence against the money changers at the Temple who were ripping worshippers off with their exorbitant prices for the animals the people would need to sacrifice and the “special coins” needed for donations.
He saw what was happening, went and made a whip with pieces of rope and created quite a panic;
“The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And within the temple grounds He found those who were selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a whip of cords, and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away from here; stop making My Father’s house a place of business!”
People coming to worship God and offer sacrifices, and some saw it as a business opportunity when they could charge high prices for what was necessary for worship. Imagine the surprise of His disciples seeing their Rabbi seeming to lose it and losing it in the Temple!
However, the majority of the anger of Jesus was toward the Pharisees and Sadducees. These men, no women allowed, had become the perfection of legalism and filled with self-righteousness. They pretended to be a certain kind of man in public, but things were different in their private lives.
They justified not helping their parents by claiming that all they had was dedicated to God and so they could not use anything to help their mothers and fathers. They loved to debate into ridiculousness the minute details of the law and ignored the needs of the people.
Jesus said of them in His tirade in Matthew 23…well worth the read;
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So, you too, outwardly appear righteous to people, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
How is this of value to us? I believe there is a spirit of hypocrisy that permeates many Christians. Many want to look great and successful on the outside and perhaps are financially successful but on the inside, they struggle with sin as much as the rest of us. They want positions of leadership and some have held those positions for years.
It appears that God has blessed them, and we assume it is because they are good people. However, effectiveness in the business world is not an indicator of being a Christ-like person. So, when a successful person is chosen to be in a position of leadership where is it spiritual strength and godliness that matters they can try to run the church like they run their business and that can produce disastrous results.
Jesus felt righteous indignation toward those who were phony. Woe to any pastor or leader who selects others to lead because of how much they might be able to contribute out of their income.
In Ephesians, we are told to be angry but do not sin. There are things we should be angry about. It is true of God and can be true of us. Anger that leads to sin, taking harmful actions, and speaking damaging words is dangerous and will not only hurt us but those around us as well. Anger is often a trigger that leads us to act out sexually. Porn has become our adult pacifier that we suck on when we are upset and mad.
On the other hand, anger can be a strong motivator to acting against injustice, and the inhumane way much of the world’s population is mistreated. The things that anger God should also anger us. This is why it grieves God when we do not welcome the stranger or give aid to those who the world has chewed up and spit out.
Most of us know what it is like to be angry and often that anger is directed toward our loved ones and even toward ourselves. One of the side effects of sexual sin is shame and self-loathing. We hate ourselves and our inability to not being able to stop our addiction to porn. This only compounds the cycle of addiction and drives us to act out even more.
Have you ever thought of what Jesus told the young man regarding the most important command? We are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, all of our soul, and all of our mind. Then He said these words;
“The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Sometimes the anger we hear coming out of our mouths is because we are not doing what Jesus said is the 2nd most important commandment…loving our neighbor as we are to be loving ourselves.
Anger over the injustice we see in the world is good and should motivate us to action. Anger turned inward upon ourselves is destructive. We feel shame and self-loathing and because of that remain a lone sheep.
Instead, we need to be angry at sin and our sexual lusts that are out of control. We need to take whatever steps are necessary to getting help in this battle we have been losing for years if not decades.
There is freedom in Christ, by the power of the Spirit. However, it is found mostly in the lives of men who are living their lives in our 180 community, receiving the accountability and support they need on a daily basis.