Looking around with anger
"He looked round at them in anger ..." (v.5)
Did Jesus ever lose His temper? Some, looking at the passage before us today, might think so. In fact, I once heard a Christian defending his temper by saying: "If Jesus could not control His temper when faced with the scorn of the Pharisees in Mark 3, why should I be condemned for my inability to control mine?"Did the behavior of Jesus on this occasion result from a loss of temper? Of course not. One luminous phrase lights up the story and puts the matter in its proper perspective: "being grieved by the hardness of their hearts" (v.5, NKJV). The reason why Jesus "looked around at them with anger" was because He was "grieved by the hardness of their hearts." The cause of His anger was grief, not loss of temper -- grief at their insensibility to human need. It was grief at what was happening to someone else, not personal pique at what was happening to Him.
Whenever we get angry, it is usually because our ego has been wounded and hits back, not in redemption but in retaliation. There is a temper that is redemptive and there is a temper that is retaliatory. The redemptive temper burns with the steady fire of redemptive intention; the retaliatory temper simply burns you up. It was intended to burn the other person up, but all it serves to do is to burn you. Patience, the fruit of the Spirit, works in us -- if we let it -- to temper our purposes to the Kingdom, and to Kingdom purposes alone.
My Father and my God, dwell so deeply in me by Your Spirit that my temper shall be tempered and produce no tempests -- either in myself or in others. For Jesus' sake I ask it. Amen.
For Further Study
1. How can we be angry without committing sin?
2. Why is it important "not to let the sun go down on our wrath"?