The One Time Jesus Was Angry
Our imagination is sometimes crippled when it comes to reckoning with the emotions of Jesus. One of the incredible things we believe is not just that Jesus is fully God, but that he is fully man, with all of the range of emotions and experiences that being a human being involves. Tears, laughter, frustration, and even anger.
For those of you who are more familiar with the Bible, you might assume that when I speak of Jesus’ anger I am referring to that time in the temple when Jesus flipped tables and whipped pigeon salesmen out of the doors. But in no account of that story is Jesus ever described as angry. Perhaps he was (perhaps he wasn’t), but we have to read that into the text. In reality, the only place that the Gospel accounts ever explicitly say that Jesus was angry is in Mark 10:14. There, the disciples attempt to turn away children that were being brought to Jesus for his blessing. Many translations say that he was “indignant” at this, but The Message provides a more vivid word when it says that Jesus was “irate.” Irate. Angry. Ticked off. Because the disciples would deny children his presence and blessing.
The disciples assumed that Jesus would adopt the mores of the day, which essentially considered children to be nobodies until they could prove useful. But Jesus, by his anger, spoke value and love to the youngest and littlest among us.
At Chapel Hill we want to have the same love for children that Jesus had. For much of the year, we invest time and energy every weekend and many days of the week into serving children, but for one month every year we give the volunteers and staff who drive those ministries a break and invite the children to worship in the sanctuary with adults. To me this break is more than just a break, it is an opportunity to obey the words of Jesus to “Suffer the little children come to me.”
This past Sunday we began our Family Worship Month and welcomed children into worship. There’s a different feel to the service, for sure. You can hear the hubbub of wriggling bodies and suppressed giggles. The hubbub brings its own challenges, that’s for sure; I have to preach over that among other things. But what a worthy challenge. May it never be said of Chapel Hill that we invited Jesus’ anger because we turned our children away.