How God’s Love Helps Me With My Anger

How God’s Love Helps Me With My Anger September 12, 2018

How God's Love Helps Me With My Anger

How God’s Love Helps Me With My Anger

John 2:13-25

There are many terms and phrases that are associated with the word anger:

Anger, Hatred, Vengeance. When we think of anger, we think of “blowing our top,” and that our anger is associated with all things negative. Yes, this is true for many people. One gets angry and hurt can come as a result.

It is often said that Jesus was angry when he cleared the temple. But anger is too tame a word. The disciples were more accurate when they remembered a verse from the Old Testament, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me’. Zeal is more than anger. It is the ardour of red-hot passion.1 In this passage, we see that Jesus has a “zeal” for His House. This zeal (or great desire of passion) leads Him to act out in anger towards those people who were turning His House of worship into a marketplace.

Anger is a temporary emotion. There will be no anger in Heaven. But like all temporary emotions, it can be used for bad or for good.

Paul says: “Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger,” (Ephesians 4:26, CSB)

So it means that one can be angry and not sin. Jesus illustrated this truth. My anger can be used for positive purposes. In the case of Jesus and this passage, I think His anger was for the positive purpose of promoting the proper worship of God.

7 POSITIVE PURPOSES FOR MY ANGER

1. Stir up the personal courage to act against injustice (John 2:14)

In the temple he found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and he also found the money changers sitting there.” (John 2:14, CSB)

Jesus saw what was going on at the temple. He saw that instead of finding people spending time praising God, there were people who were selling items for worship, and there were people dealing with money. We will look into the details of what these two groups were doing. In simple terms, they were not promoting the worship of God. Instead, they were profiting from the worship.

Seeing this made Jesus angry. It would make you angry too. Jesus saw an injustice and it angered Him. There are many injustices in this world that should make you angry. When I see an injustice, it is God’s love that causes me to be angry about it. When I see someone being bullied, it is God’s love that causes me to be angry and to do something about it.

2. Drive out evil (John 2:15)

After making a whip out of cords, he drove everyone out of the temple with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables.” (John 2:15, CSB)

Jesus used His anger against two different groups of people. I would call the first group of people:

Evil Temple BusinessmenThese were the merchants.

There were people in the temple who were bullying those who wanted to come worship. The sheep and oxen were owned by people in the temple who controlled the access.

If you wanted to worship in the temple, you had to exchange your animal for a true “temple animal.” These merchants or “temple traders” were ripping people off. These were men who would give you access to a temple animal. Travelers would go on a holiday and come to Jerusalem. They would want to go worship and so they couldn’t bring their animal to sacrifice with them. So these “temple traders” would open up shop and allow you to buy the proper animal. Jesus drove out these people, along with other

J. Ramsey Michaels notes:

Quickly fashioning a whip out of cords, therefore, Jesus drove “them all” from the temple. “Them all” is masculine, suggesting that he used the whip (or threatened to do so) on merchants and animals alike.2

It may bother us that Jesus was violent to people as well as the animals, but the purpose was a positive one. As Leon Morris notes: “and proceeded to drive the traders from the Temple with their goods.”3

Jesus was going to drive out the evil that was contaminating the worship that Jesus desired to see from His people.

By the way: Don’t ever think that God’s anger toward you is negative. God’s anger toward you has a purpose. It is His “chastening.” The point is that He will use His passion even in anger to drive out sin from your life.

for the Lord disciplines the one he loves and punishes every son he receives. Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?” (Hebrews 12:6–7, CSB)

3. Overturn corruption (John 2:15)

After making a whip out of cords, he drove everyone out of the temple with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables.” (John 2:15, CSB)

Jesus used His anger against two different groups of people. I would call the second group of people:

Corrupt Temple Bankers – These were the moneychangers.

As for the money changers, he overturned their tables and spilled their coins. All this he did without a word of warning.4

So Jesus overturned the tables that these temple bankers were using. The temple bankers would take your money and exchange it for temple currency. With this temple currency, you would be able to buy the right animals to use as an offering for worship. The problem here was that like the Temple Businessmen, the Temple Bankers were ripping the people off. They were corrupt. They were charging high rates to exchange the money.

4. Stop the commercialization of worship (John 2:16)

He told those who were selling doves, “Get these things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”” (John 2:16, CSB)

The problem with the temple bankers and the temple business is that they turned the place of worship into a place of commerce. You don’t pay admission to come worship God. Yes, we take an offering during the worship service. It is called a free-will offering. We choose to give financially to this church reach out to our community. We don’t charge people to worship God. Instead, we choose to give of our money to God and His work.

Yes, it takes money for the church to accomplish the work of God. But as Christians, we never expect people to come and think they have to give. They should give if they realize that God has given them so much, but it is not a requirement.

5. Have a consuming desire for proper worship (John 2:17)

And his disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for your house will consume me.” (John 2:17, CSB)

Jesus is excited about His house because He wants it to be a place where people can come to Him. That is the purpose of the church building here. We come to worship Him. Unfortunately, some people get the wrong idea about what church is about. They see what I would call 5 false purposes of the church.

5 FALSE PURPOSES OF THE CHURCH

The place where we meet is not a:

1. Marketplace

This is not a place where we conduct economic business. It is not a place where we come to consume and trade.

2. Museum

This is a place to visit and see artifacts. Visiting a museum is like visiting your grandparents. You do it on occasion. When you visit a museum you look at things, but you don’t touch. Then you go out the door.

3. Mausoleum

This is not a place to remember the past and prepare to die. We don’t come here to remember people who have died and remember times that were better.

4. Monument

We don’t even own this building. This place is not a place of honor for us and what we do. This is a place to meet, but more important – to meet Jesus.

5. Motel

In a motel, you come, you stay, and then you get out and move on. Staying in a motel means that the stuff is not yours. Someone else comes in to clean. The bed is not great, and you just really never feel at home. What is this place? For the Christian, for the one who truly has a “zeal” for God like Jesus, It is a meeting place for worship.

In the case of Jesus and this passage, I think His anger was for the positive purpose of promoting the proper worship of God. My anger at the injustices of this world should draw me closer to God. We should care about God and the worship of Him.

When we see something false, then God’s love convicts us to speak out. Just as some people see wrong purposes of why we meet, people say wrong things to us as well. We have let God’s love use our anger in two more positive ways.

6. Answer against untrue accusations (John 2:18-22)

So the Jews replied to him, “What sign will you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days.” Therefore the Jews said, “This temple took forty-six years to build, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. So when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the statement Jesus had made.” (John 2:18–22, CSB)

Notice they didn’t say, “Why are You doing this?” Every single person there knew the temple needed cleansing because its practices were corrupt. Thus, no one asked Jesus why He did what He did. Rather, they asked who had given Him the authority to do it.5 That was the untrue accusation which they used against Jesus. They always questioned His authority.

But Jesus didn’t let them get the upper hand against Him. Instead, He answered every accusation. In this case, they accused Him and not really doing a miracle. Jesus had turned water into wine, but they didn’t believe it. They would even twist Jesus’ words here and making the untrue accusation that Jesus would destroy the temple and rebuild it.

When I am angry, I answer against untrue accusations. There are times when we need to speak against the accusations that are false. People will speak ill against us and that can make us angry. That is when we use God’s love to speak the truth. We speak the truth in love. The truth only hurts people who are lying. The truth only hurts those who are being convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin.

7. Keep a healthy mistrust/skepticism of others with ulterior motives (John 2:23-25)

While he was in Jerusalem during the Passover Festival, many believed in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. Jesus, however, would not entrust himself to them, since he knew them all and because he did not need anyone to testify about man; for he himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:23–25, CSB)

God uses my anger to have a healthy mistrust or skepticism of others with ulterior motives. The same anger that comes up when I see an injustice also makes me mistrust people whom I know have untrue and selfish motives.

Zeal, a positive form of anger, is what God gives me to help me stay faithful to Him and to be a better servant for Him.

On August 7, 1994, a 5,200-horsepower locomotive pulled twenty-four cars from Chicago to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and back. On board the train were 846 passengers. The passengers weren’t in a hurry to reach their destination, though, because their interest was not in travel per se but in the train. Most were members of the National Historical Railway Society.

Powering this train was a Class J, No. 611 steam locomotive. Steam locomotives may sound very old fashioned but they are very powerful. In fact some of the old steam locomotives were more powerful than three modern diesel locomotives.

The heart of their power, of course, is steam. Steam “is water turned to gas,” writes Kate Eaton.

You may think you see it above your whistling tea kettle or on your bathroom mirror, but that’s not it. Steam is the clear vapor between the hot water and the visible mist. As it forms, at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it expands to take up much more space than its liquid state. This explosive expansion, harnessed in a giant locomotive, is what powered 250-ton engines pulling 20 or more railcars through the Blue Ridge Mountains, across the Great Plains and over the deserts of the west. “It’s a powerful force,” said Robert Pinsky, of the Railway Society.

Just as steam gives power to a locomotive, so zeal gives power to a believer. The more we boil with zeal for Christ, the more power we have for service.6

1 Stephen Voorwinde, Jesus’ Emotions in the Gospels (London; New York: T&T Clark, 2011), 163.

2 J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel of John, The New International Commentary on the Old and New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010), 158–159.

3 Leon Morris, The Gospel according to John, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995), 171.

4 J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel of John, The New International Commentary on the Old and New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010), 159.

5 Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003), 453.

6 Craig Brian Larson, 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers & Writers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002), 618–619.

Photo by Elijah O’Donell on Unsplash

 

 

Other Posts:

How God’s Love Helps Me With My Emotions

How God’s Love Helps Me With My Fears

How God’s Love Helps Me With My Grief

How God’s Love Helps Me Lead a Life of Joy

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