The Angry Side of Jesus

February 15, 2009 ()

Bible Text: Mark 3:1-6


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The Angry Side of Jesus. Mark 3:1-6.  Jesus looked at them with "wrath." Luke 19:45-46. Jesus clears the temple (with whip and turns over tables); Mark 10:13-16. Jesus indignant over the improper treatment of children. What is at the root of Jesus' anger? What makes him angry in each of these instances. Suffering and Injustice. Jesus is angry over the unjust religious systems that sought to hinder a man from getting the help he needed. He is angry over the unjust commercialism happening in the temple. He is angry over the unjust treatment of children that overlooked children and saw them as insignificant. Jesus is moved by the plight of others. He is moved by their spiritual and physical brokenness and angered by those who inflict it or who are indifferent to it.

What makes you angry? What angers us or disturbs us reveals a lot about us. Most of us are more angry over the inconveniences that happen to us than we are over the injustices that happen to others. Has anything outside of you ever really disturbed you, enraged you, moved you to action? Does anything cause you to be indignant?

Think about the conidition of our world.
Clean Water: 1.1b don't have clean drinking water (1 in every 6); 2.6b lack basic sanitation; 30,000 people die everyday due to conditions caused by unsafe drinking water.
Hunger: Every 5 seconds a child dies of hunger.
Poverty: 2005, 1.4b lived on less than 1.25/day. As of 2005, of NYC's 1.9 million children and teenagers, more than half are born into poverty. Because of this, approximately 98,000 children have no health insurance, approximately 18,000 have been abused or neglected, and approximately 16,000 are homeless.
Education: 114m children around the world who do not get a basic education. And yet, reports that education would lead to faster economic growth in poor countries, healthier families, and fewer HIV/AIDS infections.
Brutal Injustices in the world (the wrong use of power to take from the vulnerable). Slavery: 27 million people are currently enslaved around the world, many who have been enslaved through being trafficked. This is more than double the number of Africans enslaved during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Trafficking: Recent Report by UN Office on Drugs and Crime 18% forced labor; 79% of trafficking in the form of sexual exploitation. 2 children per minute are trafficked for sex exploitation - 1.2m annually; $32b/year is generated by human trafficking each year. It is the second most lucrative crime in the world, second only to drug trafficking. Women lured by traffickers with false promises of a job. They are beaten, raped and forced into prostitution. We are being awakened to it. Slumdog Millionaire and Taken. Local problem. 1000s of women and children are trafficked in the US every year. NY is one of the leading states.
Maybe all those numbers are just numbers, but think of it in terms of real people's stories and imagine if it were our own children, sisters. If it was our brother or father in forced labor or being beaten and detained unjustly in prison.  It's this kind of suffering and injustice that Jesus was moved by; this kind of brokenness that God speaks about over and over in the Scripture and calls his people to respond to. Micah 6:8.  Psa 10.17-18 "O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18) to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more." God hates injustice and corruption and calls his people to address it.

What do we do with this?
Repent of our willful ignorance and indifference. We need a realistic assessment of this world and the brutal injustice that is rampant in it. It is fallen, corrupt, dark and dangerous world where children die of starvation and other children are stolen and then raped multiple times a night.  A world where helpless victims are forced into servitude, and others are cruelly and unjustly imprisoned while evil and violent perpetrators who committed horrible crimes go free because of corrupt government structures. That is not melodramatic; that is reality. But, for most of us it is out of sight and out of mind. Illus: Children do not have the mental capacity for object permanence. Gary Haugen - We need to develop the capacity for compassion permanence. Our tendency is to push those realities away from us, so the Scriptures have to encourage us to keep them in our minds. Hebrews 13:3. Remember - to think about and call attention to in your mind. It is easy to forget these things, to try not to think about them because it is too painful. But we have to keep them before us in prayer and repent of our indifference. We need to begin to share as much as possible God's outrage at these things. He is not indifferent. The Lord sees, hears and feels every act of brutal injustice done to those created in his image. God is outraged by the injustices of this world and threatens great things upon those who commit them and upon those who turn a blind eye to them. Jer 21.12 "O house of David! Thus says the LORD: " ‘Execute justice in the morning, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed, lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of your evil deeds.'"" Application: Become informed; read a book; study passages; youtube videos.

Step into the Fight. The earliest Christians saw this as the proper sequel to conversion. If you have been saved by the God of mercy & Justice, you are to do Justice/love mercy. It would have never occurred to them to be inactive in the face of injustice. Is 59.14-17 NET "Justice is driven back; godliness stands far off. Indeed, honesty stumbles in the city square and morality is not even able to enter. 15) Honesty has disappeared; the one who tries to avoid evil is robbed. The LORD watches and is displeased, for there is no justice. 16) He sees there is no advocate; he is shocked that no one intervenes. So he takes matters into his own hands; his desire for justice drives him on. 17) He wears his desire for justice like body armor, and his desire to deliver is like a helmet on his head. He puts on the garments of vengeance and wears zeal like a robe." God is astonished when his people do nothing to intervene in the injustices in this world. Looking for people who will embrace action. In fact, he says that to really know him means that you become passionate about the things for which He is passionate about Jer 22.13-16 ESV "Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice, who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing and does not give him his wages, 14) who says, ‘I will build myself a great house with spacious upper rooms,' who cuts out windows for it, paneling it with cedar and painting it with vermilion. 15) Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. 16) He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the LORD." To know him is to love what he loves and hate what he hates; to be outraged by the things that outrage God; to step into the fight against injustice. Most people are looking for a fight because they are not in one. Nothing has monopolized their angst. This needs to happen organically. Find your place and formulate your response.

Respond as a Community. We need a thoughtful, sustained, corporate response. Amos 5:21-24.  Apostles Church seeking to be a healing presence in the city and the world. Not a spasm of compassion, but a thoughtful sustained response. Can't do everything, but we as a people will do something. It is going to take our prayers, our generosity, our tenacity. K. Rose Pastor of Community and Justice. Elders developing a Missional Pathway with regard to Church planting and Mercy and Justice.

Don't Despair. It is overwhelming. But we don't despair. We know the story of God; we know this world is not what it is supposed to be and not what it will be. The world is fallen; sin shattered it. In the west we just happen to manage and dress up the brokenness well. But, God, in Jesus, has stepped into it to heal it. God is deeply involved in this world and is resolved to heal it. Jesus came for that very reason, to reconcile all things in himself, to heal and renew this world. There is coming a day when all injustice, oppression, violence, wickedness, poverty, famine, sickness and disease will be banished from God's creation in a new heavens and a new earth. That future is rushing into the present. God is at work, raising up His people and others moved by common grace to address the brokenness of our world. The Kingdom is coming. Many have heard the call to Seek His Kingdom First. To seek his Kingdom first means we seek to eradicate in increasing measure what the Kingdom  will one day completely eradicate; establish in increasing measure...Love and light are penetrating the darkness and it is happening now. Despair breeds inaction. We are confident in God's desire and power to bring his Kingdom in increasing measure until it finally comes in its fullness. "We are not caught up in a Pollyanna-like dream...On the contrary we know that an ocean of oppression will pound humanity until he whom ‘even the winds and the waves obey' shall command the storms to cease." - Gary Haugen.  When you meet someone in the thick of it you realize that. Illus: Rob Morris with Love146. 2002 went to SE Asia. With undercover cops into a brothel posing as customers. Standing in a room looking through glass windows staring at little girls in red dresses being sold as commodities, no names, just a number on their dress. They were watching cartoons on little TV Sets. Standing shoulder to shoulder with men who were purchasing these little girls. No life in their eyes, but one girl - 146. Where shall we begin? Repentance; we are sorry. Prayer.

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Sermon Speaker:

JR Vassar

Former Lead Pastor, Apostles NYC