We live in a truly maddening world. We have every reason to be enraged over the tyranny threatening to overtake our republic. Consequently, I’ve seen numerous references to Jesus flipping tables, as if this is some sort of justification for our actions taken in anger. This is a gross misuse of Scripture and frankly, a dangerous comparison.
I would argue that context is the most important factor when reading and referencing Scripture. When you pick out one verse out of a passage, you are more than likely missing the entire meaning behind it. Whether done intentionally or unintentionally, manipulating scripture is harmful to the furtherance of kingdom of God. The entire truth of the Word of God is required to make an impact on our lives.
Yes, Jesus flipped tables. However, I guarantee you that he didn’t flip them for the same reason people are getting into Facebook debates today. John 2:13-16 says, “When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 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. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” Jesus had a righteous anger for the disgrace of the temple. The citizens had used it for their personal gain when it was meant to glorify the Lord.
Jesus cleared the temple of all ungodly things and He wants to do that same thing in us! He wants us to invite Him into our hearts so He can cleanse us, erase the shame of our past and make us a new creation in Him. That is why we say we’re born again upon being saved. We get new life in Christ! That is the Gospel of Jesus. He died on the cross to save us from sin and give us the opportunity for eternal life with Him.
So is it normal and even perfectly justified to be angry over the blatant evil on display today? Absolutely. Should we act on that anger? No, we shouldn’t. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” We should never hold onto our anger and allow it to take root. The devil will seize any opportunity to derail your relationship with God. Of course we are going to get angry. We are human and have a sin nature. But we must take it to God and allow Him to reconcile our hearts. James 1:19-20 provides guidance saying, “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.”
We are called to shed light among the darkness. We simply cannot react as the rest of the world. As infuriating as it is to see our freedoms being stolen, the obvious disdain for Christianity, and hateful words being tossed around, we must respond with kindness and love. According to Ephesians 4:31-32, we must “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” We must consider the potential ramifications of our actions. How will it affect our ability to win others for Him?
Be mindful of your words in all personal interactions. Make the people in your life wonder why you have radiating joy. When you speak of Jesus, represent Him accurately and in a positive light so others will be drawn to Him.
Shine brightly, friends.