Jesus’s Temper versus Ours

We are all self-quarantined at home with this Covid19 pandemic.  Emotions are on a roller coaster of ups and downs.  Tempers are quick to flare. Our descendants will read about this in history books.  How are you spending your time, and how are you maintaining your temper?

Yesterday was Palm Sunday.  After Jesus arrived in Jerusalem did you ever wonder how he spent His final week in ministry?  On Monday He taught His disciples a parable about faith when He cursed a fig tree that did not produce fruit. Do you remember that one?

They had been out walking and were hungry when they saw a fig tree with many leaves.  After they looked for the fruit, none could be found. It was barren. Jesus cursed it, and when they came back to it had shriveled up and died.   Scholars believe the tree being cursed represents God’s judgment on those that are spiritually dead.

Jesus was comparing the tree to the whole nation of Israel because it had become spiritually barren before the Lord.  It no longer produced fruit.  The people knew their  religion but did not live it.  They knew the correct words, but their hearts were away from God.

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This story of what Jesus also did might be more familiar.  Jesus also went into the temple and cleared it out of the dishonest money changers.  This time He was mad.  He had enough.  They were cheating people and making a mockery of the temple.  Jesus went through overturning tables and saying: “Scripture says ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer’, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” He drove the money changers and their animals out restoring order and respect.

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What has stayed with me about this story for many years is that Jesus stopped and braided a whip so that He could think about what He was going to do before just charging into the temple.  He didn’t fly off the handle but took time to think about the situation. Maybe He prayed.  I would imagine He did.

How about you when you become angry?

“So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” John 2:15

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Could you do this? I can’t tell you how many times I have flown off the handle in anger. Acted quickly without thinking things through.  My family calls that having a “short fuse”   because it does not take long to explode after the anger is lit.

Jesus is not like this. His righteous indignation toward what was happening in the temple was just. It needed to be done. He waited to think clearly and make certain it was done correctly.  How many times have I wished that I had done things like that?  Many! What do you do when you are angry?  How do you react?

Jesus had one week left with his disciples before his crucifixion and resurrection.  Everything was done in the right way without rushing.  In His time and in His way.  Even in a time of righteous anger He still slowed down and gave Himself time to cool off and think with a clear mind.  What a beautiful example for all of us.

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Teaching through Parables and by Example

Have you ever thought about what happened after Jesus triumphantly rode into Jerusalem. That was on a Sunday, but what happened the rest of the week? How did He spend Monday and Tuesday?  He taught.

“Seeing a fig tree by the road, He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.” Mt. 21:19

Jesus spent much of His time teaching. On Monday He taught His disciples a parable about faith when He cursed a fig tree that did not produce fruit. Do you remember that one? They were hungry and saw a fig tree with many leaves. When they looked for the fruit, none could be found. It was barren. There was just leaves on the tree and no fruit. Many believe the tree being cursed represents God’s judgment on those that are spiritually dead.  Parables are an effective way to teach lessons.

Jesus also went into the temple and cleared it out of the dishonest money changers. Jesus went through overturning tables and saying: “Scripture says ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” He drove the money changers and their animals out of the temple. How angry He must have been, but Jesus took time to really think about the situation.  Before He acted Jesus made sure He didn’t just react.

“So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” John 2:15

What stayed with me about this is that Jesus stopped and braided a whip so that He could ponder what He was going to do.IMG_2191 He didn’t fly off the handle but took time to think about the situation. His anger was righteous.  Maybe He prayed. I would think He did. Asking for guidance and God’s will were probably foremost in Jesus’ mind.  Jesus taught us through His actions to think first before we jump into any situation, especially emotional ones.

Could you do this? Wait and cool off so that you reacted in a Christian manner? Make certain the anger you feel is real and not just a reaction?  I can’t tell you how many times I have flown off the handle in anger and later saw how wrong I was.  Acted quickly without thinking things through. My mama calls it having a short fuse. It is something I need to work on not doing. Not so with Jesus.  He reacted in a Christian manner toward what was happening. They were desecrating God’s holy place of worship and needed to be stopped. It needed to be done. How many times have I corrected things that didn’t need to be? Multiple. I would just go off on my own without asking Abba to guide me. If I waited, prayed and listened a lesson would have been learned.  My lesson.

Tuesday the disciples walked back by the fig tree. It was now withered and dead. Jesus used that to teach them about faith, true faith. A person or nation that does not produce fruit for God, do His work, will wither and die all the way down to its roots. The tree had leaves so by first sight it looked like it was producing. A closer look revealed no fruit. Then Jesus cursed it. Makes me wonder about our nation.  Are we producing fruit for God?  Ponder that for a bit.

Are you personally producing fruit? Are you leading people to God?  Helping them find salvation? Everyday is a new chance to teach and be an example.  Are you using the new day to share fruits of the spirit by being loving, kind, selfless, good, joyful, and peaceful to others? Don’t wither away. Grow tall and produce fruit. Increase in your faith. Flourish in your faith. You will be amazed at the things that will happen when you believe and have faith. You will a beacon to others longing for Him.

“Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” My. 21:21-22