When Was Jesus Most Angry?

When was Jesus most angry?  

  1. before his morning coffee
  2. when Peter made a “yo mama” joke
  3. at the end of Lost
  4. when he cleansed the temple

Mark 11:15–17

[15] And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. [16] And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. [17] And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”

Jesus actually whipped people!  He flipped tables in a place more sacred than the Vatican or the Sistine Chapel.  And He did not use His library voice, but shouted, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”

Here, Jesus quotes from Isaiah 56:7.  In its context, the verse reads as follows:

Isaiah 56:3, 6-7

3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely separate me from his people”…

6 “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants… these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

Isaiah 56 is about the foreigner who is afraid that they will be separated from God’s people.  The prophet reassures foreigners (non Israelites) who love the Lord that they will be brought near.  The main emphasis is not on money or even prayer, but on God’s love for all nations and all peoples.

Jesus was angry because the Israelites had set up shops in the outer courts of the temple that were supposed to be reserved for the Gentiles to worship.  God’s people had considered their own worship and their own profits more important than the world having access to God. God is most upset when we ignore His heart for the nations and push them away because we are too worried about ourselves.

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God Promises the Impossible

The Glory of the Coming Lord
Edmund P. Clowney

Not only is the condition of God’s people so hopeless that only God can remedy it; the promises of God are so great that only God can fulfill them. No one ever disbelieved God because he promised too little. God promises the impossible.

If God were to make reasonable promises: a spiritual high, a technique for relaxation, a tax break, then a secular age might credit the word of the Almighty. But God promises a new nature, physical resurrection, a new heaven and earth, and eternal life. Superlatives burst open as Old Testament prophets describe what God will do in the glorious future. Zechariah foresees a time when every pot in Jerusalem will be like a holy temple vessel, and when “Holiness to the Lord,” once inscribed in gold in the High Priest’s tiara, will be on the bridles of the horses-the ancient equivalent of bumper stickers. In that day the feeblest man in Jerusalem will be like King David, “and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the Lord going before them” (Zec 12:8).

God Has Established His Church

A Brief and Untechnical Statement of the Reformed Faith
Benjamin B. Warfield

I believe that God has established his Church in the world and endowed it with the ministry of the Word and the holy ordinances of Baptism, the Lord’s Supper and Prayer; in order that through these as means, the riches of his grace in the gospel may be made known to the world, and, by the blessing of Christ and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them, the benefits of redemption may be communicated to his people; wherefore also it is required of me that I attend on these means of grace with diligence, preparation, and prayer, so that through them I may be instructed and strengthened in faith, and in holiness of life and in love; and that I use my best endeavors to carry this gospel and convey these means of grace to the whole world. 

The Christian Calendar

The Gospel Driven Life
Michael Horton

Like the Old Testament feasts, the great events celebrated by Christians have to do with God’s mighty acts: the Son becoming flesh (Christmas), the crucifixion (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter), Christ’s exaltation to the right of the Father (Ascension Day), and the sending of the Spirit (Pentecost). There is no room in the Christian calendar for celebrating our own works.

Turn with Grief and Hatred

A Brief and Untechnical Statement of the Reformed Faith
Benjamin B. Warfield

I believe that God requires of me, under the gospel, first of all, that , out of a true sense of my sin and misery and apprehension of his mercy in Christ, I should turn with grief and hatred away from sin and receive and rest upon Jesus Christ alone for salvation; that, so being united to him, I may receive pardon for my sins and be accepted as righteous in God’s sight only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to me and received by faith alone; and thus and thus only do I believe I may be received into the number and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God. 

I believe that, having been pardoned and accepted for Christ’s sake , it is further required of me that I walk in the Spirit whom he has purchased for me, and by whom love is shed abroad in my heart; fulfilling the obedience I owe to Christ my King; faithfully performing all the duties laid upon me by the holy law of God my heavenly Father; and ever reflecting in my life and conduct, the perfect example that has been set me by Christ Jesus my Leader, who has died for me and granted to me his Holy Spirit just that I may do the good works which God has afore prepared that I should walk in them. 

Redeemed Through Jesus Christ

A Brief and Untechnical Statement of the Reformed Faith
Benjamin B. Warfield

I believe that God has redeemed his people unto himself through Jesus Christ our Lord; who, though he was and ever continues to be the eternal Son of God, yet was born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that are under the law: I believe that he bore the penalty due to my sins in his own body on the tree, and fulfilled in his own person the obedience I owe to the righteousness of God, and now presents me to his Father as his purchased possession, to the praise of the glory of his grace forever; wherefore renouncing all merit of my own, I put all my trust only in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ my redeemer. 

I believe that Jesus Christ my redeemer, who died for my offences was raised again for my justification, and ascended into the heavens, where he sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty, continually making intercession for his people, and governing the whole world as head over all things for his Church; so that I need fear no evil and may surely know that nothing can snatch me out of his hands and nothing can separate me from his love. 

I believe that the redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ is effectually applied to all his people by the Holy Spirit, who works faith in me and thereby unites me to Christ, renews me in the whole man after the image of God, and enables me more and more to die unto sin and to live unto righteousness; until, this gracious work having been completed in me, I shall be received into glory; in which great hope abiding, I must ever strive to perfect holiness in the fear of God. 

My One Aim in Life and Death

A Brief and Untechnical Statement of the Reformed Faith
Benjamin B. Warfield

I believe that my one aim in life and death should be to glorify God and enjoy him forever; and that God teaches me how to glorify him in his holy Word, that is, the Bible, which he had given by the infallible inspiration of this Holy Spirit in order that I may certainly know what I am to believe concerning him and what duty he requires of me. 

I believe that God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and incomparable in all that he is; one God but three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, my Creator, my Redeemer, and my Sanctifier; in whose power and wisdom, righteousness, goodness and truth I may safely put my trust. 

I believe that the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, are the work of God hands; and that all that he has made he directs and governs in all their actions; so that they fulfill the end for which they were created, and I who trust in him shall not be put to shame but may rest securely in the protection of his almighty love. 

I believe that God created man after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, and entered into a covenant of life with him upon the sole condition of the obedience that was his due; so that it was by willfully sinning against God that man fell into the sin and misery in which I have been born. 

I believe, that, being fallen in Adam, my first father, I am by nature a child of wrath, under the condemnation of God and corrupted in body and soul, prone to evil and liable to eternal death; from which dreadful state I cannot be delivered save through the unmerited grace of God my Savior. 

I believe that God has not left the world to perish in its sin, but out of the great love wherewith he has loved it, has from all eternity graciously chosen unto himself a multitude which no man can number, to deliver them out of their sin and misery, and of them to build up again in the world his kingdom of righteousness; in which kingdom I may be assured I have my part, if I hold fast to Christ the Lord. 

Wonderfully Just

Psalm 75:1-5

1 We praise you, God,
    we praise you, for your Name is near;
    people tell of your wonderful deeds.
2 You say, “I choose the appointed time;
    it is I who judge with equity.
3 When the earth and all its people quake,
    it is I who hold its pillars firm.
4 To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’
    and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.
5 Do not lift your horns against heaven;
    do not speak so defiantly.’”

How would you describe your best friend to another person?  Perhaps you would use words like thoughtful, kind, funny, or intelligent.  Odds are, “just” is not the first word that will come to mind.  While we tend to devalue the quality of justice over grace and mercy in others and in God, Psalm 75 puts God’s justice at center stage.

The Psalmist praises God for being…judge.  He knows His nearness through His steadfast…equity.  The Psalmist witnesses God’s wonderful deeds of…judgment on the wicked.

In the West, we struggle with the idea of a just God.  Perhaps, it’s because we don’t suffer much.  For victims of random violence in the inner city, justice matters.  For believers in China suffering persecution, justice matters.  For sex slaves in Southeast Asia, justice matters.

And our God will do right.  There will be a day when He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and He will destroy sin and death.  Praise God!

“Life” Over “Choice”

3.12.2007

I’ve heard and read a lot of arguments for and against abortion.

It appears that the issue boils down to whether an unborn baby’s right to live or a woman’s right to choose is more important. In my opinion, the Bible seems pretty clear that “life” is more important than “choice.” The implications of this statement are pretty crazy though.

When people say that a woman’s right to choose is important, this means she should be able to choose how her future plays out. An unwanted/unplanned pregnancy has serious social and economic implications. The social stigma of being a young, unwed mother is not a light thing, nor is the idea of supporting and nurturing a human life. Having a child at an early age will likely prevent someone from getting a college degree or pursuing whatever career they dream of because they must provide for their child. Then there’s always the knowledge that the child of an unprepared mother or a child sent through the system of foster homes and adoption will have a very difficult life.

Christians may say that many women are choosing convenience or their love of themselves (which includes their comfort, futures, and lifestyles) over the life of another. To a large extent I believe that is true. But make no mistake, we ask these women to do a very, very difficult thing. In order to care for this life, we essentially ask people to give up their own. And we have no right to ask this of them if we are not willing to sacrifice our own futures and comfort for the lives of others.

Christians often have a very clear stance on the issue of abortion. But the implications of our argument (“life” over “choice”) extend far beyond this one issue. We’re simply inconsistent when we ignore how the value of life ought to shape our daily choices. Even though we may not have had to deal with the issue of abortion personally, we would be foolish to believe we don’t struggle with the dilemma of “life” versus “choice”.

By the way we use our money, time, and energy we proclaim to the world whether we value “life” or “choice.” We value the choice to have financial stability, social status, and comfortable and convenient lives. Due to our exaggerated sense of entitlement, we believe our right to such privileges outweighs the value of one, ten, hundreds of lives in the third world.

To be “pro-life,” we don’t have to change the way we live at all. Maybe we’ll get a new bumper sticker for our car (though some do live out their convictions by adopting or supporting the cause). But to value “life” over “choice,” everything we do comes into question. What we do with the resources God has given us (money, education, talent) becomes a very serious thing because as we waste, others die.

Are we willing to give up our expensive toys, our financial stability, or perhaps even the hours we would otherwise spend on ourselves for the sake of life? Will we be outraged for the unborn and dismiss the millions who have been born and are suffering?

So often “outreach” and “social justice” are simply minor side issues we dabble in now and again to relieve our guilty consciences. Among university students, it has become trendy to be socially and politically aware. Yet our knowledge is rarely used for anything other than yelling at people who don’t know as many depressing statistics as we do. We speak so loud and accomplish so little.

The heart of the issue is this. We love very little. We simply don’t love enough to make a difference.  Now we can’t force ourselves to love, but we can acknowledge our tragic lack and ask God to give us new hearts. We can refuse to be self-satisfied, thinking ourselves noble, compassionate people for the one hour a week we “sacrifice.”

I don’t intend to guilt or discourage people. Good works fueled by anything other than love are not only hypocritical but ineffective. And being depressed at our humanness is entirely unnecessary because God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. He chose us because we are weak so that we would rely upon Him and identify with the downtrodden all over the world. We rejoice in our weakness because everything depends on the One who cares deeply about social justice and is strong enough to bring forth the kingdom.

But in order to be used, we have to acknowledge the true state of this world, our hearts, and the church. My hope is that you and I will wake up to what’s outside of our bubble. The world is dying and we cling to “choice.” May we finally admit that we are selfish to the core, so we can call upon our amazing God to change the world and change us so that we might be used for the flourishing of human life.

The need, as always, is great and our lack, as always, is great. Our God, as always, is greater.

Able to Wait

2 Samuel 2:1-4 (ESV)

[1] After this David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the LORD said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” And he said, “To Hebron.” [2] So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. [3] And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. [4] And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

In an AT&T commercial, a group of kids is asked, “Is it better to be fast or slow?”  A little girl proceeds to explain how it’s better to be fast so you can outrun a werewolf and avoid being bitten and turned into a werewolf yourself.  It’s hard to disagree with that logic.  

We too prefer “fast.”  We want our promotions fast.  We want our kids to become perfect fast.  We want our dreams fast.  And if we were faced with a werewolf, we also would want to run fast.

After years of waiting to become king, David should have been rearing to go.  Saul had finally passed away and so now was the opportune time for David to take his rightful place.  Instead we find David patiently waiting on the will of God.  He asks whether he should go into Judah and if so to which city.  Once there, David simply waits.  It’s the men of Judah who come to him, not the other way around.

Now David is not lazily waiting for God to do everything for him.  In regards to obeying God and following His will, David is very active.  But in terms of securing his own future and blessings, David is surprisingly passive.  David is content to move at God’s pace.

When something is important to us, we often do our best to rush God.  Whether we’re looking forward to a dream job, getting married, or having good health, “wait” is not what we want to hear.

How did David have such patience?  I believe that it was through all those years on the run.  In those bleak times, David had learned to trust God.  Take a moment to remember God’s faithfulness to you.  Is there a time when his sovereign goodness to you was on full display?  How can your history with God encourage you to trust Him now?