So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples… When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:11, 15-17 NLT)
All four of the Gospels tell the story of Jesus angrily driving out the money changers in the Temple. What was meant to be a place of sacred worship became a business enterprise, yielding huge financial gain for slimy salesmen, looking to earn a quick denari at the expense of honest, godly worshippers who traveled far to celebrate Passover. Some people have used this rare display of anger by Christ as an excuse to be an angry person. But there are several important reasons to differ with this assumption.
Firstly, Jesus slept on it. This was not divine road rage. He came into the temple on Palm Sunday of Holy Week, observed the injustice, but didn’t respond just then. It was the next morning that he returned and overturned the tables and disrupted the sales event. He thought this through first. And, being Jesus Christ, He could handle anger. We, on the other hand, cannot.
No where in Scripture are we encouraged to display anger. In fact, quite the opposite. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you.” And in Colossians 3:8, “But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior…” Paul gives this strong warning in Ephesians: “For anger gives a foothold to the devil.” There are many more Scriptures that instruct us to set anger aside. Anger is not a right we hold. We must arrest it and reject it like any other temptation.
Without your help I will never win this battle with rage. But your Word says that, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I am counting on your strength to help me ward off anger. I renounce it in Jesus’ Name. I repent of holding on to anger and giving the devil a foothold in my life and relationships. I am determined to follow your Word, to study it, memorize it, meditate on it, and declare it until you have renewed my mind, giving me the mind of Christ – a mind at peace with God, at peace with myself, and at peace with others. This is possible only through the shedding of your blood, the atoning of my sin on the Cross, for which I am eternally grateful. I submit myself wholeheartedly to your grace and forgiveness. Teach me to be your disciple. Give me godly leaders to follow and a Church Body to walk alongside. I receive from you the ability to put away anger!
In Jesus’ Name, Amen!