The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 7/23

Posted on | July 23, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 7/23

Scripture reading: Ephesians 4:25–31

The Wrath of the Lamb

And making a whip of cords, Jesus drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables . . . His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (John 2:15, 17)

The mental picture I had of Jesus as a child was of a nice gentleman who smiled a lot and enjoyed spending time with children. Jesus seemed to me a lot like Mr. Rogers. It was therefore challenging to my Christology when I discovered that Jesus once made a whip, turned tables upside down, and physically drove money-changers—not to mention sheep and oxen—from out of the Temple (Mark 11:15–19; John 2:13–17; etc.). Frankly, I wanted to tell Jesus that he wasn’t acting in a very Christ-like manner! But as I have matured in my understanding, I now realize that while most human expressions of anger involve sin, not all do. This is why Paul encouraged first century Christians to be angry, but at the same time warned them not to sin (Ephesians 4:26).

The book of Revelation introduces us to the reality of the Lamb’s anger when he comes to judge the nations for their willful rebellion and sin (Revelation 6:16). It takes a creative imagination to picture what an angry lamb will be like, but in the cleansing of the Temple we get a preview. If Jesus is our model for human behavior, then we should seek to be angry at the same things that angered him. Looking at the story of the cleansing of the Temple, we can see those things that made Jesus upset . . . really upset.

,. Prayerlessness. “My house shall be called a house of prayer!” Jesus shouted. But people had changed it into something it was never intended to be. It matters little whether the church has replaced prayer with commerce and trade as in the first century, or praise bands and coffee bars as in the twenty-first. If people in God’s house are not seeking the Lord in prayer, Jesus gets angry.  Lack of love for those outside. “My house shall be called a prayer for all nations!” It is likely that the cleansing of the Temple took place in “The Court of the Gentiles,” the very place dedicated to introducing foreigners to the one true God! But rather than meeting God, foreign visitors encountered a market area intent on making a profit at their expense.

,. Hypocrisy. You have turned God’s house into “a den of robbers.” A robber’s den (or cave) was a hideout for thieves and their ill-gotten treasure. Jesus wasn’t just upset at the greed and materialism in the Temple, he was especially angry at those who came to the house of God to hide. Through the centuries, millions of pseudo-worshippers come to church not to let the light of God expose the truth, but to hide in the shadows. What a great place to live a lie and pretend to be what you aren’t. This makes Jesus angry.

,. Possessiveness. This is “my house,” Jesus said. It’s not your house even if you are a priest or a member of the elder board. Jesus gets upset when people in church get confused about whom it all belongs to.

Look again at the things that made Jesus mad. Now ask yourself this question: What makes me angry? Do I get upset at the same things Jesus does? Why not? If your desire is truly to be like Jesus, then you must learn to be like him in your anger.

A man that does not know how to
be angry does not know how to be good.
—Henry Ward Beecher

point to ponder • What makes you angry?

prayer focus • Think about the kinds of things that make you angry. Pray that your anger would be in line with the righteous anger of Jesus.

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