The Bible is aflush with stories about and references to the wrath of God. Together with many people I have always had ambiguous feelings about it. Throughout history the wrath of God has been used and abused by many demagogues and charlatans to push their own weird and abusive agendas.
Yet there is just one instance in the entire Bible when we hear about Jesus getting angry. And I believe this one instance can help us understand and appreciate the holy anger.
In the gospel of Mark we hear about Jesus looking with anger exactly at those who were using religion to deny help to a needy person. Using religion which could bring liberation, healing and hope to this very opposite end -- to deny help and hope, using something intended as good to cause or perpetuate pain. That is when Jesus gave his opponents that angry look, decried their callousness and healed the sick.
This is the only instance when we hear about Jesus’ anger in the entire Bible. Yet it was still quite shocking and problematic from the earliest of times. Matthew and Luke took over this Markan story but they intentionally and meticulously sanitized it, they left out any reference to Jesus’ anger from their gospels.
Yet I am thankful that Mark preserved it. For me, angry Jesus is a real and believable Jesus. He was passionate about bringing divine help, his was the anger which brought hope and healing.
This Sunday we will continue our series of worships on divine healing and we will rejoice in the holy divine anger which heals. Join us!