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Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle.  He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
John 2:15

Dear Hanover Saints,

In one of my bibles the note on this verse says: “Not an outburst of temper, but the energy of righteousness against religious leaders to whom religion had become a business.”  My questions to the editors: What’s wrong with an outburst of temper?  What’s the difference between an outburst of temper and “the energy of righteousness”?

Whether temper or righteous energy, for the people, the sheep and the cattle the impact was the same.  Jesus forced them to leave, and he did so with verbal and physical passion.

So the question to ponder in our Lenten wilderness: why is it hard to accept that Jesus has a temper?  In traditional Christian theology there is the notion of the incarnation: that Jesus is fully human and fully divine.  If Jesus were only divine then his time in the wilderness is meaningless…the temptations are a show.  If the temptations of Jesus are real, then why not his temper?

The question is not whether, as humans, we have tempers.  The question is how, when, where, why, and in response to what, we release our temper.  The outburst of Jesus happened in response to the desecration of the most important and sacred place in his life.

Amen for righteous energy – but praise God for holy outbursts.  Amen when we respond with verbal and physical passion when we witness injustice, oppression, desecration, and acts against God.  Amen when people of faith merge outbursts of temper with energetic righteousness.

The life and ministry of Jesus was wrought with passionate outbursts of righteous energy and temper: his act of civil disobedience was reserved for a hill and a cross on Good Friday.

In this season of seeking God’s will and way may we hear the call to righteousness, and may we respond to injustice with intemperate voices.



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