Lord, help me to not grieve Your Spirit or unknowingly make You angry.
What makes you angry? Do you share Jesus' anger?
In this passage, Jesus is getting really angry. It's hardly the meek, mild image of the Savior we find in fine art or stained-glass windows. This is the table-turning revolutionary, not the peacemaker found in Matthew's opening chapters.
Why is Jesus so furious? The religious leaders of his culture are total hypocrites. They care only about outward appearances; Jesus knows that his Father looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). Jesus is angry at their hypocrisy and also at the idea that they might be misleading others who look to them for religious guidance. In fact, he even invokes hell itself (33), saying the Pharisees' lifestyle of duplicity suggests the question, "How will you escape being condemned?" If the perfect Jesus can boil with anger, we deduce that anger itself is not a sin.
Religion which is all about appearances should make us angry, too. When the need to appear righteous overrides the needs of the poor, we have license to imitate our Savior in this regard. Perhaps we should even get angry, about the right things, a little more often.
Journal about what makes you angry. Are they the right things? Do you get angry too often? Often enough?
Lord, help me turn from selfish anger but join You in anger against injustice. Let it move me toward bringing change.
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