Jesus got angry. This has always made sense to me intellectually, especially when I ponder the Incarnation, the confession that, in Jesus, God is truly and fully one of us. However, emotionally I don’t often grasp this fact. On that level I prefer to deny anger. I equate anger with sin, so I have Jesus speak all his lines in the Gospels with a kind, even tone. The Story does not allow this.
Jesus was angry when he turned over the tables in the Temple, tussled with the Pharisees, and took the disciples to task for repeatedly missing his point. He clearly exhibits anger here.
Jesus rebukes his disciples James and John for wanting to call down fire on the Samaritan village that has rejected them. Why?
Well, even chapter 9 presents plenty of reasons. At the beginning of the chapter he instructs his disciples on how to deal with rejection. They are to shake the dust from their feet and move on, not call in an air strike.
A few verses later, Jesus stands a little child beside him and notes that whoever receives the child receives him and the one who sent him (God). He does this because the disciples pointlessly argue over who is his greatest disciple.
So, of course Jesus is angry. He sets his face toward Jerusalem and the cross and his community remains off-track.
What can we learn from Jesus’ anger? From our own? What is the basis of our anger? In what ways does our anger reflect sin? righteousness? How does it deepen our love for God and others? How has God’s love in Christ called us forward by using challenge, confrontation, and even anger?
Holy One, may I learn from Christ not only through happiness but through anger as well. Amen.