Faultless Fury

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Freeze the frame and silence the audio. Look closely at the stop-action scene. Faces of merchants pose in various states of shock. Bulls and sheep halt in mid-air on their frantic search for an exit. Coins suspend in mid-air as tables freeze in tilt position.

Allow the visual to fill your imagination. With authority, the God-Man clears thirty-six acres of temple grounds from flagrant activity. How could One Man accomplish such a task? Did His indignation cause a seismic vibration that encouraged mass exodus? (Jeremiah 10:10) This same One Who would draw hearts towards now repels distractions and deterrents. 

Pinch the scene open and zoom in on His Face. Looking at Him, we see the mirror-image of God (Hebrews 1:3). Peer closely to understand what it is to “be angry, and sin not(Ephesians 4:26). While we grapple with this contradiction, but He accomplishes it with ease. He Who is angry with the motivation is simultaneously compassionate with the mortal. As Charles Spurgeon describes, “It was simply love on tire, love burning with indignation against that which is unlovely.” 

We know that Love never flies off the handle, but is patient beyond comprehension (1 Corinthians 13:5). Can we visualize that here? In our motionless image, can it be that our slow-to-become-angry God erupts with exasperation (Psalm 103:8)? Does His burning anger stand alongside His goodness without paradox?

I recognize a vast difference as I compare His photograph to my still shots of anger. Rage, as an emotion, points to something that isn’t right. In and of itself, it isn’t sin. But I can justify my temper and tend to react without constraint. Glancing at the motionless frame of Jesus, I’m aware that “He restrained His anger, and did not arouse all His wrath (Psalm 78:38). Even though His indignation had been building for the last thirty years, His anger remained righteous, so that He could achieve His Father’s purpose (James 1:20).

With ways and thoughts far higher than ours, Jesus’ reactions were never sudden but always self-limiting. He could take vengeance and still be good; He could vent His anger without sin. He is not only a Judge but the final Righteous One of us all (Deuteronomy 32:35; Hebrews 12:23). I’m thankful for that. 


Holy Father,


You are exalted, and we do not know You (Job 36:26). How little I comprehend the enigma of Your Love layered with wrath; Your compassion folded with fury. Thank You for sending Your Son to bear the brunt of Your indignation on my behalf. 


Since vengeance always belongs only to You, teach me to be honest with You about my anger. You invite me to come reason with You (Isaiah 1:18). Show me how to be angry without sin and vent my emotions before You without harming others. When my temper boils hot, remind me to pray for patient endurance before quick vengeance. I need both restraint and long-suffering (neither are my favorites). 


Thank You for showing me this glimpse of Your Son. In His Name, I pray, Amen.” 
               

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