Christ Driving the Traders from the Temple by Pieter Bruegel

Anger Management 101: Temple Tantrum

Scripture: Mark 11:15-19 (NRSV)

Jesus is so human. So divine, and so human. Jesus slept—got tired, like we do. Jesus wept—felt emotional pain, like we do. Got hungry—he fasted and he feasted with the disciples. Got thirsty—one of his last words on the cross was “I thirst.” He grew physically weak—Simon of Cyrene had to help him carry his cross. Jesus let out a cry of pain on the cross before he breathed his last and “gave up his ghost.”

And yes, Jesus even got angry—when he turned over tables and chairs in his temple tantrum. Jesus didn’t always turn the other cheek. Jesus got angry, but sinned not. He did it the right way, as Aristotle famously advised: Be angry for the right reasons, with the right people (not the innocent), at the right time, and for the right length of time. Jesus not only had a dimmer switch and a volume dial for his anger, but also an ON and OFF switch for his anger. An emotional spigot if you will for his anger. He used his anger to protect and to empower. He didn’t hurt people or hold grudges with his anger. He forgave. But he also expected change.

Jesus was meek, which means “disciplined strength.” But he was no pushover, even as he pushed over the moneychangers’ tables and chairs of the dove sellers in the temple. Anger is not always a deadly sin. It is not a sin to feel anger or to express it. It’s human to feel anger. If you don’t ever feel anger—check your pulse and make sure you’re not a corpse. Part of our Christian character development involves paying attention to our anger, not suppressing it. We are to appropriately experience and express our anger, which means to honestly face conflict and sometimes carefully create conflict, rather than evade it or pretend it’s not there. This is a life-long trial and error exercise for all of us. Let’s learn more about it, as we take a field trip with Rabbi Jesus to the temple.


February 28, 2021 Service Bulletin and Bible Study

Sermon Art: “Christ Driving the Traders from the Temple” by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526-1569). Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

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