If I were to ask you to name some occasions in Scripture when Jesus was angry, where would you start?
Probably the incident that would come to mind first for most of us is Christ overturning the tables of the greedy money-changers in the temple. If he wasn’t awfully angry on that occasion, he certainly did a fine imitation of an angry Lord!
And when Jesus stared holes through the hypocritical religious leaders of his day and called them “a brood of vipers,” I doubt the Pharisees missed the fire in his eyes. It was fierce love of God’s people that sparked solar flares in those normally gentle eyes.
Ah, but I’m thinking of another occasion now. I like what the first two say about our Lord, but I like even more what this next one says.
It’s found in Mark 10. The people have been bringing their children to Jesus to have him touch them, bless them, and the disciples, uptight about crowd control, have begun shooing them away. Surely the Lord is far too busy, far too important, to be bothered by a bunch of snotty-nosed kids. (Mind you, the Greek text says nothing about snot. Come to think of it, in two years of biblical Greek, I don’t remember learning the Greek term for mucous, but kids are kids.)
The Bible says Jesus gets “irate.” “Indignant.” “Much displeased.” And one version just says, “angry.”
Not at the kids or the parents. At the disciples.
“Don’t push these children away,” he admonishes his disciples. “Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom.”
And he goes on: “Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in” (The Message). Then he gathers the little ones into his arms and blesses them.
I love this picture of our Lord! And I love what it says not only about the Son but also about the Father and His estimation of who is really greatest in the Kingdom.
Probably I should admit that these words are not being written by a presently emotionally stable individual. Stable people don’t get misty-eyed when they see chalk drawings on their sidewalk, and bubble “guns” sitting still and bubble-less, and tree swings becalmed (and nothing is sadder than a grandpa sitting in a tree swing alone). It’s far too quiet around here. No little fingers are tugging at me to come see a really pretty purple flower. Yes, our granddaughters just spent a few days with us in Muleshoe (they prefer Muleshoe hands down to Malibu), and I’m experiencing PawPaw withdrawal.
“That’s my PawPaw!” I’ve heard both girls “explain.” Loudly. I’d rather be their PawPaw than any country’s king.
And wonder of wonders, the King of the universe feels that way about all His little ones. And you. And me.