Today we’re looking at the go-to passage that people use to justify violence and war in the name of Christ. Jesus gets mad and apparently whips people because they’re not doing the right thing. Thankfully someone caught the event on their cell phone so we have it all documented in order to clear up any confusion:
What the the angriest you've ever been?
Share a time when you lost your temper.
Ways people show anger:
There’s a lot of questions around the idea of anger because, frankly, we don’t really think it’s okay in our culture. Anger is usually something to be avoided at all costs (Especially in MN). We don’t often give voice to our anger. Jesus expresses anger and actually acts based on his anger at points. Over 260 times, anger is mentioned in the bible. In the old testament anger is often used in pictures of God being angry (we don’t have time to work through that entire theological ocean today) or in commands in the new testament on how to appropriately use anger. Often times, we avoid/ignore/push down/minimize anger because we’ve grown to see it as something really bad.
How do you express anger?
How do you handle anger?
Do you bottle it?
Do you ignore it?
Do you have a quick temper?
Jesus at the Temple
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
Why was Jesus so angry with what was going on in the temple?
The story continues:
Jesus Curses a Fig Tree
18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
When has your outward appearance not been consistent with what is going on inside of you?
Why do people pretend they are OK when inside things are anything but OK?
We should make sure to keep these two sections of the story as one when we think about them. The fig tree is a further representation of what happened in the temple. We have two different stories, but they’re actually connected. The fig tree and Jesus’ statement about throwing mountains into the sea are all the same thought progression. All of this has to do with the temple.
It’s always easy to shake our heads at the Israelites when they once again seemingly don’t “get it.” But don't we do the same thing? The temple of Israel was the place where God’s glory/holiness dwelled and was supposed to be the place that God’s holiness went out to all the nations. In Jesus’ death the veil separating God’s presence and humanity was torn. God’s presence now dwells in each of us as the new temple.
If Jesus “walked into your temple”, what would he think?
Would he leave things the way they were or would he flip things upside down?
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