Austin asks an interesting question: “If they said Jesus committed no sin, then what was him turning the tables over in the temple considered?”
Are you asking, Austin, if it is a sin to be upset or even angry?
Lets take a closer look at this question. Obviously, we do not have a calm, composed Jesus here; rather, he is quite upset. But is it always wrong to be angry or upset?
Let’s look more closely at a couple of examples in our own lives when we might get angry. First situation: You become really frustrated and mad at your brother (or sister) and you lose your cool and start screaming and hitting him. Is that wrong? You know the answer, don’t you?
Now, second situation: you’re coming home from school and you see some kids hurting a helpless animal.... or someone picking on and bullying a small kid... so, is it right or wrong to get upset here? Do you just keep walking and ignore it all? Or do you get upset enough about it to do something that will stop this behavior?
The right thing is to do something.... probably to go get an adult to intervene. There are some things in the world that are so bad that to not get upset about them would be bad. Anger is very natural, having angry feelings may not always be bad. It all depends on what kinds of things you do when you’re angry (how you react to a situation-you can't control how others behave, but you can always choose how you respond to something or someone). It depends on whether you can use your anger for good, or you let your anger use you for bad.
Let’s go back to the temple cleansing story in the Bible. Something bad is happening here which spoils the temple’s purpose of worship and prayer. Jesus says in John 2, “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” In Luke19, Jesus says “it is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” We would say-- as no doubt the common people said then, that Jesus’ actions were right even righteous. His actions were not sinful. It is accurate, I think, to see some anger here. But he did not “lose it.” Nor do we believe he acted wrongly. It was evidently the right thing to do, but... it was also one of the chief reasons why he was arrested by the Jewish leaders and delivered to the Romans to be crucified. But Jesus knew what he was doing, didn’t he? Did he let the anger control him or did he control his anger? What do you think?
Thanks for the thoughtful question, Austin!
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** Posts before 2014 are from Pastor David Jones**