Jesus served. He was the perfect model of servant leadership. He was the ideal. He was It. When people were around Jesus, they realized the fullness of their identity because He showed them who they really were — the image-bearers of God! They were created by God in His very own image! As soon as they saw who they really were, they lived in their fullest humanity.
Jesus served even when He got angry. Jesus was angry with the religious leaders of His day because of the way they were misrepresenting God. But He didn’t go around hurting people in anger, not even in zealous anger. When He was angry with the Pharisees, He talked to them about it. He explained His anger to them. He said, “Here is why I’m angry with you. You’re treating people like they’re not human beings. You’re actually ruining the reputation of my God! You say you’re a follower of God and a holy person. Then you act unholy and say it’s what God wants. That’s wrong!”
Jesus handled zealous anger really, really well. He had the ability to get angry and explain it. He could tell someone why He was angry. And then He could look at their heart and pierce it in a way that they fell in love with Him. He could express His anger so that they were convicted to stop doing what they were doing.
Jesus controlled His anger. Think about what happened when He flipped the tables in the Temple. That was some zealous anger, right? But He didn’t wound people! Instead He asked them, “Why are you treating my Father’s house like this?” Jesus used the exact language He needed to convict those people on the spot. He got their attention, and when He had it, He said, “My Father’s house is a house of prayer. It’s not a marketplace.” Everybody there that day understood exactly what what He meant, and they heard Him! They heard what He had to say, and they reflected on it. They said, “Man, this is how we’ve affected this guy, and God. We need to change.”
It’s really good to be able to change people’s hearts with your anger, but it takes a lot of Jesus to pull it off. Most people don’t do it right. I don’t do it right. It’s very hard to do. It’s so hard, in fact, that if He were here, none of us would even try. We’d just let Him do it, right? He had to leave so that we’d try!
More on this next time. See you Thursday.