Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, October 17, 2016
As beings of the flesh, anger is a typical response to insult or harm, and the Bible records many instances of retribution. However, the Bible counsels us that revenge is unGodly and declares our need to temper anger with love. How, then, do we accomplish this when our emotions clamor for us to strike back? As always, Jesus serves as our model for dealing with others and with our feelings. In John Chapter 2, we see how Jesus managed His own anger when He cleared the temple in Jerusalem.
The term management implies a multi-step process, which begins by recognizing a problem, developing a plan, and then implementing the plan effectively. Management also implies containment, a process that requires discretion and application of appropriate levels of discipline. Our LORD Jesus applied all these attributes and more as part of His anger management seminar in the temple.
Jesus was insulted by the money changers and vendors who occupied His Father’s house. He recognized the problem instantly. Ultimately, it was man’s love of money (1 Timothy 6:10, Matthew 6:24) that motivated them, not their faith. Vendors were selling oxen, sheep, and doves in the temple. These animals were not just for common use, they were the unblemished specimens to be used as sacrifices. The chief priests had allowed these animals to be admitted to the temple so fees and profit could result. We see what great corruptions can arise in the church when men love money more than God (Timothy 6:5)!
In His majesty, Jesus was able to form a perfect plan of action. First, He drove out the sheep and the oxen along with those who sold them. His normally calm demeanor vanished when offended by the temple desecration. Somewhat curiously, before He had started His public ministry, Jesus had seen these transgressions in the temple many times. In His previous, private life, He had never taken any action to drive them out. Now, in one of the first public displays of His authority, Jesus reveals His disgust regarding the use of God’s house of worship for commerce. Thus, He drove out the beasts.
A subtle lesson unfolds from Jesus driving out the animals and the vendors. We see that Jesus never used force to drive anyone into the temple, only to drive out those who profaned it. We, also, must not use our anger to try to force others into Christ’s Church, only to drive out trespassers. It is only through His love that the lost can be drawn into the temple and saved.
In the next part of His plan, Jesus poured out the money changer’s currency. In this act, He showed His contempt by throwing worldly treasure on the ground. Next, by overturning the tables, Jesus showed His displeasure for those who manipulate religion for worldly gain. He threw out not only their money and their tables, He rid the temple of their occupation.
Jesus demonstrates the necessity of love, concern, and restraint in His next phase of the anger management seminar. To those who sold doves, He said “Get these out of here!” (John 2:16). Note how He treated doves differently under His plan than He did the four-footed livestock. This distinction demonstrates His prudence and restraint in His anger, a lesson we should also learn – His justice is perfect.
His restraint was intentional, not just a passing whim or a decrease in His resolve. When the sheep and oxen were driven out, the owners were able to follow the animals and recover them easily. If Jesus had simply loosed the doves, they would have flown away, perhaps never to be retrieved. Jesus was not interested in causing the dove vendors loss when He had caused no loss to the other merchants. Instead, He shows us how discretion and even-handedness must always guide us and govern our anger so we ourselves do nothing unbecoming or inflict mischief on others.
Finally, Jesus took the time to educate them as to why He acted the way He did. He gave them a good reason for His actions and told them His Father’s house is not a house of merchandise, it is a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13). Whereas commerce is a good thing by itself, it is a sacrilege in the Church, which is dedicated to the honor of God.
Jesus shows us that righteous anger is normal and appropriate in certain situations. However, He also demonstrates how our anger must be managed and controlled to conform to the will of God. We must defend God’s name and institutions publicly, but in our anger we must also be careful not to sin (Psalm 4:4, Ephesians 4:26), lest we lower ourselves in the process. Jesus’ lesson in anger management serves as a guide to all of us for living a life that is normal and pleasing to Him.
A servant of Jesus Christ
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