Daily Devotional for December 5
December 5 Matthew 21:12-22
In today's passage we see a side of Jesus that makes many of
us very uncomfortable: the angry Jesus, cleansing the Temple,
overturning the tables of the money-changers and merchants,
cursing a barren fig tree, and causing its death. Is this our
familiar Jesus, "meek and mild"?
In these stories, the God within Jesus burns brightly, an incan-
descent light of holy anger. Jesus is God; since the Hebrew
Testament is full of stories of God getting angry, why is it so
hard for us to picture Jesus angry? What are the elements of
godly anger and when is anger appropriate for us?
True Christianity should be known for its anger as much as
for its gentleness. Christian gentleness is not a passive quality,
but one of inner, God-directed peace. When a Christian is con-
fronted with injustice and moral decay, as Jesus was in the
Temple, or a failure to fulfill his or her God-given potential,
as in the case of the fig tree, then the Christian is roused to
indignation. Christians should be known as much for their
enemies as for their friends.
Jesus reacted to wrong with anger, it is true, but it was anger
that was clothed with the authority and power of God. Simi-
larly, our anger must be inspired by God's truth in our lives,
not solely by our own convenience and need. Our anger must
be righteous in nature, keeping the Gospel message constantly
before us. Our anger must be assured, not extreme, but appro-
priate to the circumstances. And our anger must be quick to
abate and ready to forgive.
Dear God of justice, help me to know the difference
between godly anger and my own selfish anger. Amen.
From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle
Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C