There seems to be a constant sway within the Church as to what type of person we believe Jesus to be on an emotional level. Some generations remove all forms of physical and vocal aggression displayed in the Biblical text and preach a “forgive and forget” type of Messiah that was always ready to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-40). Other generations overlook his passion and love by focusing on Him as merely a prominent “turn or burn” preacher concerning eternal punishment for sinners (Matthew 23:33). These two popular opinions fluctuate as the years come and go, and those willing to proclaim the full spectrum of God’s love and anger find themselves surrounded by either a liberal mindset that needs to be balanced with the law, or a legalistic mindset that needs to be balanced with love. It’s during these times that brave men and women step out from the crowd and proclaim change. We see it with Moses, we see it with the prophets, and we most definitely see it in Jesus as He came to bring a message of grace and peace to the humble, and law and punishment to the proud.
The Biblical accounts of Jesus in the four Gospels shows predominantly a Messiah that has come to proclaim the Father’s love in acts of compassion, healing, and eventually, the greatest act of love ever revealed: taking the world’s sin upon Himself. There are, however, sprinkled amongst His peaceful and approachable times of ministry, times where the Lord’s anger would be the only thing able to speak to the hearts of men; particularly the hearts of those that were supposed to be helping others draw closer to Him. It’s these times of anger that can be a very valuable teaching point for the Church when it comes to maintaining a healthy balance of legalism and love to those we are called to serve.
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