Greetings to the Sarah Jane Johnson Church community of faith,
Some people have had me thinking lately about Jesus’ anger. Particularly about those times He let His anger show. In my research, I found sentiments like this one from Jeffery Poor that confirmed my thinking,
Jesus’ anger was almost always directed towards the religious, and occasionally his followers. Interestingly, he rarely got mad about the injustices done to him; and people said and did some pretty nasty things to him. Instead, his anger came out when someone was being kept from him. Jesus wanted all people to have the opportunity to know his love for them and when that opportunity was squashed by a rule, a person, or a system, he got mad. (https://www.rethinknow.org/2020/10/19/what-made-jesus-mad)
He also, it seems, never got mad at Rome, or about the injustices the empire was inflicting. As far as my little bit of research could find, the only time Jesus even spoke about injustice is found in Luke 18 as part of the lesson of the Parable of the unjust judge:
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (nrsv)
For Jesus, it’s not about governmental justice. Jesus is focused on God – – and faith.
To be alive at this time in the history of the United States is to live in the magnified tension that exists between personal liberty and communal good. What I mean is – where my personal freedoms bump up against the needs of society. OR maybe someone else’s personal freedoms bump up against mine. This tension generates anger.
And when I turn to Jesus as the example – I find this anger does not line up. Jesus’ anger was not about injustices done to Him – or even to others. Jesus’ anger was directed at people and systems who kept others from God. So, when I am feeling angry, I’m called to consider more than is my anger justified. When I am feeling ready to express my anger, I’m called to ask myself – more than What Would Jesus Do? I am called to ask myself – is this something Jesus would’ve gotten angry about?