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I think we know the story.

Matthew 21:12

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves

Can we emulate this as Christians? I mean, can we get as angry as this? I can say Jesus was fighting on behalf of God. If we do the same, are we also justified?

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closed as off topic by DJClayworth, warren, Affable Geek, Monika Michael, David Sep 15 '12 at 4:59

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I have to agree with @DJClayworth. This is argumentative at best, banal at worst. – Affable Geek Aug 30 '12 at 15:15
@Wikis The question has been edited since I wrote that. It did originally ask if Jesus was justified. And the title still does. If the title is edited I will remove my comment. – DJClayworth Aug 30 '12 at 15:18
I'm good with irony. And smileys. – DJClayworth Aug 30 '12 at 15:51
@tunmise_fashipe Strictly the answer to your question is: No we can't emulate this. Because there is no longer a Jewish temple to cleanse. Maybe you should give a more specific example of what you are asking about? – DJClayworth Aug 30 '12 at 15:52
@DJClayworth I agreed that the way I earlier framed my question put Jesus' action under scrutiny. All I was concerned is if we act this way, can we be justified. – tunmise fashipe Aug 30 '12 at 16:13
up vote 5 down vote accepted

There's an interesting bit of detail about the event in Mark 11:11:

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

He did not allow his anger to control him. This was not an act of rage.

There is another issue at play here, as well. Since Jesus is Himself part of God, the offense committed by the changers in the temple was towards him directly. An analogy is that if you see someone habitually blaspheme God, it's as if that person physically assaulted your mother. But from Jesus perspective, it was as if they were assaulting you directly, or perhaps even assaulting you and your mother at the same time.

While we are to use Jesus as the great example, we must be careful to remember that, as the creator, he sometimes sees things differently than we do, both through his power to understand people's hearts, and from the fact that he relates to people differently than we do.

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Good to point out the Mark 11:11 reference to show Jesus was deliberate and in control when responding. – Randy Syring Aug 30 '12 at 17:24
Really! He must have taken his decision the day before and his actions were well calculated not just an arbitrary anger. Good Point – tunmise fashipe Aug 30 '12 at 17:50
@tunmisefashipe: Yes, this was definitely a calculated action, as evidenced by Jesus making a whip to assist in driving out the animals. That's not something that's done quickly on the spur of the moment. – Mason Wheeler Aug 30 '12 at 19:55

There is such a thing as righteous anger. There is, however, the issue of authority. Jesus, as the eternal Son of God who took on flesh 2,000 years ago, had the authority not only to be angry but to take appropriate action.

We as Christians can certainly have righteous anger and probably do whenever we here of murder and violence throughout the world. However, we do not have the authority given to us to do anything like what Jesus did.

It should be noted here what it was that angered Jesus so much. In the design of the Temple, the largest section was the court of the Gentiles. Israel was chosen to be a God's light to the world, so this very large place was build specifically for non-Jews. The Jews turned this area into a marketplace, effectively crowding out the place designed for people from every nation, tribe, and language. This is what enraged Jesus.

Mark's account identifies this more specifically:

And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? Mark 11:17 ESV


So, we can certainly have righteous anger, but we are not given the authority to do what Jesus did.

Also, if you want to make God really mad, try preventing people from worshiping Him.

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The last paragraph is very very true. – tunmise fashipe Aug 30 '12 at 19:24

Short answer, yes:

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil (Eph 4:26,27)

Paul is saying here that it is possible to be angry and to not sin. That conclusion can also be reached since Jesus was angry but never sinned.

However, we need to be very cautious. Anger has a way of dulling good judgment and, often leads to sinful actions. Hence the many warnings in Scripture against it such as:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:19,20)

And proverbs dealing with anger abound:

Furthermore, the heart is very deceitful:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

we need to be careful that we are not viewing our own sinful anger as righteous anger.

Finally, can we emulate what Jesus did in the temple? Well, remember it was his father's house. He had the authority to act there. If I came into my father's house and found a bunch of thieves and robbers, I think it would be legitimate and God honoring to be angry about it and to kick them out. Likewise, there are evils committed in this world that we should be angry about. If, however, our anger leads us to sinful actions or attitudes (bitterness for example), then we should be quick to recognize that our anger is no longer God honoring.

For what its worth, I doubt my own ability to be righteously angry. So whenever I reflect on my own anger, I start with the assumption that it is sinful, and begin to diligently search and examine to make sure I am not giving an opportunity to the devil (Eph 4:29). If, after reflection and seeking godly counsel, I can determine that my anger is justified, then so be it.

I highly recommend the following book for a very good look at anger from a biblical perspective: Uprooting Anger by Robert Jones

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"If, however, our anger leads us to sinful actions or attitudes (bitterness for example), then we should be quick to recognize that our anger is no longer God honoring" Nice one – tunmise fashipe Aug 30 '12 at 17:52

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