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Righteous Anger – Jesus and the Money-Lenders

Faith Forward Hope

Reading: Mark 11:15-19

All four of the gospels tell of Jesus going into the temple and overturning the money-lenders and traders tables. Although the details differ in the synoptic (Matthew, Mark and Luke) gospels from the story John tells us in his gospel, there is still a commonality: they show Jesus displaying anger.

The Bible discourages certain kinds of anger – in particular the types of anger that will lead to bitterness and to sinful thoughts or behaviour – but it does not claim that anger in itself is sin. The anger that Jesus exhibited in the temple the day after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem is an example of what is known as “righteous anger”. His fury at the money lenders and the salesmen was justified, because not only were the people defying God’s law, but they had no shame about what they were doing. Jesus had every right to be angry and to behave as He did. What was happening in the temple was a blasphemy.

When I first became a Christian, I was afraid of feeling anger, because I thought that it was a sin. It took a long time for me to understand the difference between righteous, or justified, anger and the type of anger that can lead to sin. Understanding that there are certain circumstances when anger is understandable is an important lesson – as is remembering that we must not let even righteous anger lead us down pathways of sin.


Father God, thank you that through Jesus’ display of righteous anger in the temple, we are able to see the difference between anger that is justified and anger that leads to sin. Help us, today, to be ever increasingly aware of the differences and help us to continue to walk our path of righteousness. Thank you, Father God, that when we do allow anger to lead us towards sin, that we can come repentant before you and be washed clean by your forgiveness once again. Today, Father God, we pray a blessing over those who might try to incite us into sinful anger. Father God, we choose to forgive them, as you also forgive us our sins.

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