Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #289 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading John 2 today and our focus is on Did Jesus Ever Get Angry? What Makes Jesus Mad?? We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Taipei, Taiwan, Belmopan, Belize, Singapore, Singapore, Quezon, Cebu and Iloilo, Philippines, Dong Nai, Vietnam, Gujarat, India, London, United Kingdom, Nova Scotia, Canada, Birmingham, Alabama, Nashville, Tennessee, Los Angeles, California, Augusta, Georgia and Wausau, Wisconsin Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Jesus – what do you think when you think of Jesus? If you picture His face right now – what is His face doing? I imagine for most of you, you might be thinking of Jesus smiling, or just giving a peaceful expression, which I am sure that Jesus did both of those quite often. But, as we will see today, Jesus didn’t always have a peaceful and serene face. Sometimes, He appeared to be angry. I say “appeared” because I am, in a sense, hedging my bets. The Bible never actually says exactly that Jesus was angry, but He certainly is going to appear to be angry in John 2. Is it sinful to be angry? Absolutely not, the Bible DOES tell us that God the Father gets angry, as we see in passages like Psalm 80:4, “Lord God of Armies, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?” and Zechariah 1:
12 Then the angel of the Lord responded, “How long, Lord of Armies, will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that you have been angry with these seventy years?” 13 The Lord replied with kind and comforting words to the angel who was speaking with me.14 So the angel who was speaking with me said, “Proclaim: The Lord of Armies says: I am extremely jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. 15 I am fiercely angry with the nations that are at ease, for I was a little angry, but they made the destruction worse. Zechariah 1:12-15
God even tells Job’s three friends that He is ANGRY with them for how poorly their counsel was to Job. So yes, beyond doubt, God gets angry, and that means that anger isn’t always a sin – there is a “righteous anger.” as people have termed it before. Before we get too excited, and think that this allows us to be angry with things that aggravate or bother us, allow me to say that you and I have flawed judgment, and we don’t always know the right things to get angry about – and the things that anger us, usually are NOT the things that angers God, which brings us to the main point of today’s episode: what angered Jesus, or – what appeared to anger Jesus? What caused Jesus to fiercely display His zeal in public? Let’s go ahead and read John 2 and find out.
Here’s pastor and writer John Piper to help us understand WHY Jesus got so upset here.
Jesus says, in verse 16, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” Jesus does not say that the sellers and money-changers are robbers, or that the animals are defective, or that the place is a place of prayer—though it is. He says that they have turned his Father’s house into a bazaar. An emporium. A market.
The disciples saw this incredible display of fury—he was using a homemade whip of ropes, and loosing the oxen (oxen are big!), and dumping boxes of money on the ground, and turning over tables, and saying (with who knows how piercing a voice over all the bleating), “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” And when the disciples saw this, they connected it with Psalm 69:9 where David the king says, “Zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.”
Jesus was consumed with zeal for his Father’s house. And reproaches were, no doubt, raining down on him like torrents: “What in God’s name do you think you are doing?!”
So what made Jesus so angry? The contrast he pointed out was between “my Father’s house” and a marketplace. “My Father’s house” means: This house is about knowing and loving and treasuring a person, my Father. In this temple, my Father has supreme place. He is the supreme treasure here. “A day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 84:11). “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Psalms 73:25).
But that focus has been replaced by a focus on trade. And there is no reference here to the people who needed the animals—the pilgrims who were buying the sheep and pigeons. The anger is all directed at those who were selling and handling the currency. Jesus could see through the veneer of religious helpfulness to the heart. In fact, in verse 25 John says, “He himself knew what was in man” (John 2:25).
Hypocrisy and Love of Money
What did he see? He saw that this bazaar, this emporium, was not advancing communion with his heavenly Father. It was not flowing from the love of God. It was flowing from the love of money. And what made it worse was that religious ritual, and vaunted helpfulness, were being used as a cover for greed—O the entanglements of greed and religion in our city and in our day! Another story just broke this week of a big church-based Ponzi scheme with a pastor bilking his people of $100 million!
That’s what Jesus saw—hypocrisy. Religion used as a front for greed. Empty forms of love for God plastering over the insatiable love of money. Jesus boils when he sees formal godliness as cover for gain (see 1 Timothy 6:5).
Underneath Pharisaical Legalism
Jesus made it very clear that underneath the religious legalism of the Pharisees, he saw the love of money. Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees in Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Then Luke comments, “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him” (Luke 16:14). That’s another form of hypocrisy—shoot the messenger of truth. Rescue yourself with ridicule.
You can hear the zeal of Jesus burning in Matthew 23:25: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” You put up a fine display of religious helpfulness in the temple bazaar. But you are driven by the love of money, not the love of God.
John Piper, Sermons from John Piper (2000–2014) (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2014).
Bible Memory passage for the month of October: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
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