PRAY: Ask God to open your eyes to the truth of His Word and how it applies to your life. Ask Him to conform you to the image of His Son, rather than to the world.
READ: Mark 11:12-33
Does God have emotions like us? We’re made in His image, so maybe He does. On rare occasions, Jesus demonstrated some of our extreme emotions: anger and frustration. In these verses we find two examples.
On His way into Jerusalem, Jesus hopes to eat a fig as He passes a fig tree. In what we may consider an extreme response, He “curses” the fig tree when finding that it has no fruit. On the surface, His response seems harsh – but nothing with Jesus is ever just on the surface.
As a bit of background, the tree has always been considered the symbol for Israel. Jesus is feeling the weight of the world upon His shoulders. His beloved Israel, the chosen people, has not recognized their Messiah. Him. He is feeling their stubbornness, and, in defense of His Father, He is angered by their complete rejection of all the Father is attempting to do for them. It is anger – righteous anger. So He curses the tree. Then, amazingly, on the return trip, we see Christ’s power on earth. The cursed tree has died in just a day! The disciples are staggered at first. Then they are frightened to realize the incredible power of this man they follow and call friend. His power is frightening to mortal man.
Then Jesus illustrates His human emotions a second time even more vividly. As He approached Jerusalem, all of Jesus’ frustration and disappointment with His beloved Israel came to a head. He desires to worship His Father at the temple, the most sacred place on earth. Instead of reverence, He is confronted with a den of thieves lying and cheating and setting up a livestock yard within the temple grounds. And worse yet, it was being sanctioned by the priests who were supposed to honor and worship His Father. His indignation boiled into fury and came out in a physical anger that we have never seen before from this man who is the symbol of peace and love.
Righteous anger. Justified anger from the One who will one day right every wrong. He turned over their tables that were spoiling every inch of the sacred ground of the temple. At the risk of jeopardizing His mission on earth, He could not let this outrageous insult go on. He stopped them, maybe for just the moment, but He stopped them. And it cost Him dearly. From that moment on, the Pharisees “sought how they might destroy Him.”
We rank human emotions as either good or bad. But maybe there needs to be more nuance? Does your blood boil when God is insulted? Would you desire to defend Him as you would defend your child or spouse? We all know that there have been times we should have stood for righteousness, not compromise. Jesus gave us many examples of when to walk away, but this time He exemplifies how to stand strong.
1. What would cross your mind if you were standing there in the temple and saw Jesus start flipping tables?
2. What are the wrongs, the evils, the broken areas of life you long to see Jesus right one day? Do you believe He will?
Memorize: 1 Cor. 16:13-14
”Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.”