Guest Entry written by Adele Hebert
“Is it right for you to be angry?” God asked Jonah (4:4). Is it right for a Christian to be angry? Anger, if not controlled, is a very dangerous emotion and can lead to murder.
The first person to be angry in the Old Testament (Gen 4:5), “Cain was very angry and downcast.” God had accepted his brother’s sacrifice but not his. What did he do with his anger? “Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.”
The first person to be angry in the New Testament (Mt 2:17), “Herod was furious on realising that he had been fooled by the wise men.” What did he do with his anger? “In Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or less.”
Although we were told to love one another and to forgive our enemies, Jesus was often quite angry. Jesus got very frustrated with his disciples Mt 17:17, “Faithless and perverse generation! How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you?” Jesus had righteous indignation at the sellers in the temple Jn 2:15,16, “Making a whip out of cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, sheep and cattle as well, scattered the money changers' coins, knocked their tables over and said to the dove sellers, 'Take all this out of here and stop using my Father's house as a market.” Mostly, Jesus was angry at the Pharisees Mk 3:1, “Then he looked angrily round at them, grieved to find them so obstinate, and said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand. '”
Amazingly, Jesus never got angry with the women. There were 5 women who Jesus corrected; they were definitely not rebuked as some commentators / preachers have alleged. Jesus only rebuked the wind, sea, demons, unclean spirits, fever and men.
Jesus was more severe with his male disciples than anyone else: he rebuked Peter, calling him Satan Mt 16:23; he rebuked James and John for wanting to call down fire from heaven to burn up the Samaritan village Lk 9:55; and he rebuked the Eleven male disciples for not believing the women’s testimony Mk 16:14; but Jesus never rebuked women.
Let us examine the verses pertaining to women. Notice how Jesus leads them ever so gently, no names, and no harsh critical words. In fact, Jesus always uplifts them, guarding their honor, hearing them, blessing them.
Lk 2:48,49, “They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, 'My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.' He replied, 'Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?'”
Lk 11:27,28, “It happened that as he was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, 'Blessed the womb that bore you and the breasts that fed you!' But he replied, 'More blessed still are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'”
Jn 2:3-5, “And they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the feast had all been used, and the mother of Jesus said to him, 'They have no wine.' Jesus said, 'Woman, what do you want from me? My hour has not come yet.' His mother said to the servants, 'Do whatever he tells you… tasted the water, and it had turned into wine.'”
Lk 10:41,42, “But the Lord answered, 'Martha, Martha,' he said, 'you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part, and it is not to be taken from her.'”
Mt 15:24-28, “He said in reply, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.' But the woman had come up and was bowing low before him. 'Lord,' she said, 'help me.' He replied, 'It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to little dogs.' She retorted, 'Ah yes, Lord; but even little dogs eat the scraps that fall from their masters' table.' Then Jesus answered her, 'Woman, you have great faith. Let your desire be granted.' And from that moment her daughter was well again.”
Mk 11:27-29, “And he said to her, 'The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to little dogs.' But she spoke up, 'Ah yes, sir,' she replied, 'but little dogs under the table eat the scraps from the children.' And he said to her, 'For saying this you may go home happy; the devil has gone out of your daughter.'”
Lk 11:39, “Jesus said, 'Take the stone away.' Martha, the dead man's sister, said to him, 'Lord, by now he will smell; this is the fourth day since he died.' Jesus replied, 'Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?'”
Jn 20:17, “Jesus said to her, 'Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
No matter how often and to what degree Jesus was angry, he never sinned; he was always in complete control. Anger only becomes a problem when it is not controlled, when is it not directed at the right cause, and when it is not appropriate. Jesus was angry as an expression of his zealous, holy devotion to God. His righteous anger had nothing to do with himself; it was always on account of others sinfulness or their lack of faith, both of which affected those around them, and those wanting to get into the kingdom of God. His reaction was also directed only at those he was angry at; he never took it out on anyone else; and his actions were also appropriate to the cause. Most importantly, Jesus’s anger was exclusively motivated by love, even to forgiving those who crucified him from his dying breath.
Jesus made it very clear that we were not to judge others; not even to call someone a fool, Mt 5:22, because names are destructive, demeaning, and abusive. A little further Jesus explains why, Mt 7:3 says, “Hypocrite! Take the log out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother's eye.” Jesus was able to expose the Pharisees, Mt 23:17, calling them “Fools and blind!” because he was perfect. As long as you are without sin, you can cast stones.
Now, we will consider all the verses where Jesus is angry.
What He called them, what He did
|8:26 Peter||storm||little faith|
|9:25 people||ridiculed him||turned them out|
|12:34 Pharisees||'chief of devils'||Brood of vipers|
|12:39 Pharisees||Sign||Evil, adulterous generation|
|14:31 Peter||Sinking||Little faith|
|15:7 Pharisees/scribes||Washing hands||Hypocrites|
|16:4 Pharisees/ |
|Sign||Evil, unfaithful generation|
|16:8,9 disciples boat||Yeast||Little faith|
|16:23 Peter||Rebuked Jesus||Satan|
|17:17 disciples||Could not cure||Perverse generation|
|19:8 Pharisees||Divorce||Hard hearted|
|21:12,13 money changers||Bandit's den||Whip, upset tables, drove|
|22:18 Pharisee's disciples||Taxes||Hypocrites|
|23:3 crowds, Pharisees||Do not practice||Vain, hypocrites|
|23:13-37 scribes/ |
|Shut up kingdom||Hypocrites|
|Travel to evangelize||Hypocrites|
|Swear by altar||Blind guides|
|Swear by gold||Fools and blind|
|Swear by both||Blind men|
|Straining gnats||Blind guides|
|Clean outside of cup||Blind guides|
|Leave inside full||Hypocrites|
|Inside full corruption|| |
|Look upright|| |
Full of lawlessness,
|Say you would never||Children of murders|
|Escape hell||Serpents, brood of vipers|
|You shed blood||Murders, kill prophets|
|3:5 Pharisees||Heal on Sabbath||Grieved, obstinate, angry|
|4:40 disciples||Storm||No faith|
|5:40 people||Ridiculed him||Turned them out|
|7:6 Pharisees/scribes||Washing hands||Hypocrites|
|7:17 disciples||Questioned him||Non understanding|
|8:18 disciples||Yeast||Minds closed|
|8:21 disciples||Do not remember||Still do not realize|
|8:33 Peter||Rebuked Jesus||Satan|
|9:19 disciples||Couldn't heal||Faithless generation|
|11:15 sellers||Bandit's den||Drove out, upset tables|
|12:15 Pharisees/ |
|12:24 Sadducees||Whose wife||Doesn't understand scripture|
|12:27 Sadducees||Rising again||Very much mistaken|
|12:38 Pharisees||Rob widow's houses||Thieves, hypocrites|
|16:14 Eleven||Refused to believe women||Incredulity, obstancy|
|6:42 people||On judging||Hypocrites|
|8:25 disciples||Storm||No faith|
|9:41 disciples||Couldn't heal||Perverse generation|
|9:55 James, John||Wanted to call fire||Rebuked|
|11:29 crowds||Sign||Evil generation|
|11:39 Pharisees||Wash cup||Extortion, wickedness|
|11:40 Pharisees||Wash cup||Fools|
|11:42 Pharisees||Tithe||No justice, love of God|
|11:44 Pharisees||Seats of honour||Unmarked tombs|
|11:46 lawyers||Load burdens||Unendurable, do not touch|
|11:48 lawyers||Build tombs||Witness, approve killing|
|11:50 lawyers||Send prophets||Blood of Abel, Zechariah|
|11:52 lawyers||Take away knowledge||Prevent from going in|
|12:28 disciples||Worry||So little faith|
|13:15 ruler synagogue||Healed on Sabbath||Hypocrites|
|13:32 Herod||Means to kill you||Fox|
|12:34 Jerusalem||Refused God||Kill prophets|
|16:14 Pharisees||Upright||Loathesome for God|
|18:9 people||Prided themselves||Not justified|
|18:14 people||High opinions||humbled|
The Fourth Gospel does not reveal an angry Jesus, although Judas is described indirectly twice.
What He called them, what He did
|6:70 one disciple||Jesus chose||devil|
|12:6 Judas||Not care about poor||thief|
Compare the amount of times Jesus got angry, and to whom, in the 3 synoptic gospels:
Number of Times Jesus Got Angry
Clearly, Jesus was not afraid, was even justified in calling the religious leaders names; he continuously exposed their wicked traditions, their motives, and their sins. No one knows what Jesus wrote on the ground in Jn 8:6, but all those men left, from the oldest to the youngest; and since he knew their hearts, he revealed enough to make them all leave.
Jesus got very angry with the religious leaders because they were keeping the people from the truth of God, Mt 23:13,14. The Pharisees were always trying to trap Jesus but he, in turn, exposed their evil, “these are the men who take advantage of widows and rob them of their homes,” Mk 12:40. Two verses later Jesus points to “the widow with two little copper coins, worth about a penny.” He was not praising her, he was admonishing the men for her poverty! She was a widow and women were not allowed to own property. Not only did she lose her husband but now her property was taken away from her as well. That is why it was so vital for women to have at least one son. Because the Pharisees were the only ones who could study the law and teach it; the people were at their mercy for legal matters and instruction, plus the rulers made many extra laws which the people could not keep. The ones who would have been affected the most were the women, since they could not study the scriptures themselves and they had no rights, no voice; that is why Jesus made sure Mary of Bethany stayed at his feet.
The most important message Jesus was telling us:
Righteous anger is good; it motivates us to do what is right;
Personal anger is bad; it motivates us to do what is wrong (sin).
The most significant finding in this study was that Jesus was never angry with the women; they were not his enemies; they followed him; they supported him financially; they had great faith; they listened; they worshipped him in truth; they loved Jesus.