Have you ever been really, really angry?
A few months ago, I was really angry about something. I was so angry that I wanted to throw things around the house. I slammed a few doors, and I even took off a shoe and flung it away from me. Somehow, as I threw it it bounced out of the room and made a huge mark on the mirror on the landing. Amazingly, the mirror wasn’t broken, but the glass was marked and unclear. Sin can be like that – it can be like a mark on a mirror, stopping you from seeing the whole picture of who God is and getting between you and Him.
I calmed down and cleaned off the mirror and generally sorted things out. But anger is an interesting emotion. Being angry can make us do all sorts of silly things that hurt other people and ourselves. We can make a real mess when we’re angry about something. Anger in itself isn’t sinful – it’s just what we do with it that matters.
Jesus gets angry in this passage. He’s angry with those changing money in the Temple, and those selling doves and bringing in merchandise. He’s angry because they have changed the Temple from a “house of prayer” in to a “den of robbers”.
The problem isn’t selling things in the Temple, although it shouldn’t really be a place for gaining profit. It’s a problem that in changing the money and selling things there, the people were profiting from the great poverty around them. They using the laws about worship to line their pockets at the expense of the poor. Worship shouldn’t be about how much money we have but about encountering the living God.
So Jesus did something about it. His behaviour challenged the religious leaders about what they had been letting happen around them and made them think about what they were doing, even if they did then decide they wanted to kill Jesus because he had such a popular following.
Is there something that you are angry about where you can make a difference and bring about good?
Lord God, thank you that you made us people who feel things. Help us not to sin in our anger. Help us to be angry about the things that make you angry and do things that make a difference. Amen.