“Simply LOVE on Fire!” : Jesus’ Righteous Anger

Jesus' LOVE on FIRE

“AGAIN JESUS went into a synagogue, and a man was there who had one withered hand.  And [the Pharisees] kept watching Jesus [closely] to see whether He would cure him on the Sabbath, so that they might get a charge to bring against Him [formally].  And He said to the man who had the withered hand,  Get up [and stand here] in the midst.  And He said to them,  Is it lawful and right on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to take it?  But they kept silence.” ~ Mark 3:1-4 Amplified Version

“And He [Jesus] glanced around at them with vexation and anger, grieved at the hardening of their hearts…”  (Mark 3:5).

QUESTIONS:  “Is there UNRESOLVED ANGER in your family?”  “If Jesus got angry, isn’t it okay for Christians today to be angry?”  I will try to address the issues of these emotions in this blog writing.

FEELINGS can be like a fire.  Fire can be used in a positive situation; control burning of grasses on the edge of a forest.  But if the intentionally set fire gets out control…you can have a disaster on your hands. 

Anger can have the same results in a marriage, a family, in a church, at work and much more.  The out of control flames can turn into a roaring, blazing fire burning to a crisp everything that is in its path!  It can only take a small spark to turn into a entire forest burning to the ground in ashes.  So with love ones near you, people who perhaps don’t know you that well, be careful of a small spark of anger.


Dictionary definition; “a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.”

The major Old Testament word is the same word that is used for “nostril”.  My wife has told me before, when I get really angry the veins on the back of my neck stick out and that’s not good.  So the Hebrew word used for ANGER is often revealed in the appearance of nostrils or heavy breathing.

There are two primary New Testament words: one referring to a passionate outburst and the other to a settled and lingering frame of mind.  God isn’t very happy about either one and He tells us to get rid of both.

.“But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips!”  (Colossians 3:8).

But A Strange Thing Arises:

God tells us in the same context,  “When angry, do not sin…”  (Ephesians 4:26).  Actually the imperative voice in the Greek text is NOT “In your anger do not sin” or “When angry do not sin” but literally, “Be angry.”

I found this week that God gets angry about some things and Christians should too!


“And He glanced around at them with vexation and anger grieved at the hardening of their hearts, and said to the man, hold out (stretch out) your hand.

It is the divine Lord Jesus; the meek and lowly in heart, described as being angry.  Where else do we meet with such words of Jesus here among mankind “Stretch out your hand”?  I want to take a closer look at Mark’s account of the story to see what I can uncover.

A poor man was present on that particular day in church [synagogue].  He had a ‘withered hand’ from some disease or injured in a work related accident [No liability insurance then].

The great preacher Charles Spurgeon thought it was the “right hand.”  If you have to earn your daily bread with your hands, you can guess what it was like with a dried up paralyzed hand.

In that same synagogue was the Savior, ready to restore that hand back to it’s full force of measure.  The assembly that had gathered together for worship that day should have been in awe when they saw a miracle of divine goodness.  Maybe even whispering to one another, “We shall see our poor neighbor restored today; for the Son of God is in the house!  He has come among us with power to heal.  He will make this a glorious Sabbath; His work of gracious power.”

But that’s not how things happened:  The people gathered there at church did nothing of the kind.  Instead, they sat watching Jesus; not delighted at all by His act of power but to find this occasion to accuse Him.

When all was said and done, the most they were able to allege was that Jesus healed a withered hand on the Sabbath.  Overlooking the praise and glory due for the miracle of the healing, they laid the emphasis of the resulting miracle of the Sabbath.  They all held up their hands with horror of such a secular action performed on such a sacred day.  Their necks were stiff and their hearts were cold.

Jesus then puts a question plainly before the assembly:  “Is it lawful and right on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil?”  Jesus knew beforehand the condition of their hearts and put the question in a form allowing one reply.  The question no doubt could have been easily answered by these Scribes and Pharisees.  But then it would have condemned themselves; therefore they became mute and you could have heard a pin dropped in church that day.

Scribes were most skilled a ‘splitting hairs’ while the Pharisees, who could measure the border of a garment to the eight of an inch, declined to answer one of the most simplest question of morals.

John Mark describes the Savior in detail, of looking round upon them all, slowly turning with a stare of anger and grief; His LOVE was on fire as He should have.  The clear and graphic words gives us a picture here as Jesus looks all around the group.  He stands boldly with a challenged observation, although He knew His opposition to the religious authority would involve His own death; hasten the hour of the cross.

He did not defy them but He did make them feel insignificant.  Can you conceive the power of that look?  The look of a man who is given to anger has little force in it; it’s a small blaze touching a field of dry grass, potentially fierce but futile at that particular moment.  In many cases we can almost smile at angry eyes.  But a gentle spirit like our Saviors commands reverence.  His meek and humble heart could only have been stirred with anger by some overwhelming cause.

Even when those who were present that day with hard hearts moved Him to indignation, His anger ended there; He only looked, spoke no words of scolding and reprimand.  The look itself had in it more of pity than contempt.  Or as someone once put it, “more of compassion than passion.”  Jesus was demonstrating to us all what “righteous anger” is.  It’s “Simply LOVE on Fire!”


1.  RIGHTEOUS anger inspires people to stick with the facts.  UNRIGHTEOUS anger inspires people to relapse to name calling, belittling, etc.

2.  RIGHTEOUS anger cause people to deal with the real issue; whereas UNRIGHTEOUS anger provokes people to make their case based on assumption.

Many times, we like to assume things not actually present in a situation.  Because our angry spirits cause our minds and emotions to be like children at Disneyland by frantically looking for something to ride on.

3.  RIGHTEOUS anger does not prohibit the fruits of the Spirit to occur like LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONG-SUFFERING, MEEKNESS and SELF-CONTROL.

ANGER is an emotion; feelings on the inside of pain or pleasure that causes you to move in a direction.  JESUS had emotions but emotion didn’t have Him.

UNRIGHTEOUS anger ensures your bitterness.  You can become tense, maybe even a stiff-neck or rude towards others; OUT OF CONTROL!  Anger has a hold of you.

4.  RIGHTEOUS anger will cause you to desire others experience a genuine sense of conviction over their sin.  UNRIGHTEOUS anger produces inferiority in other people.

5.  RIGHTEOUS anger inspires individuals to address the core issues.  UNRIGHTEOUS anger drive focuses on petty issues.

6.  RIGHTEOUS anger tends to produce a belief system promoting well-balanced Christian life.  UNRIGHTEOUS anger drives people toward unhealthy extremes, even in the name of Jesus.

7.  RIGHTEOUS anger inspires people to handle conflict in a Biblical manner while UNRIGHTEOUS anger usually leads to gossip and unfruitful conversations about others.


One of the most common ways for Christians to handle anger is to deny it.  We tell ourselves that Christians aren’t supposed to be angry: “I’m a Christian, so naturally I am not angry.  I might be concerned, hurt, disappointed, a wee bit upset, but definitely NOT angry.”

My image that I want displayed requires that I not be angry, I deny it, depress it deep down inside of me where it eats at my organs; makes me physically sick or causes me to be depressed.  I store it up until the pressure gets so great, the flame gets so intense that I explode in a ‘flare-up’.

I hold on to it until I can direct it at some less threatening object.  My boss can and has fired me on different occasions, and I don’t yell back at him.  I go home and yell at my wife instead which inflames the situation.  She then yells at the kids; they kick the cat; the cat scratches the baby whose developing lungs can make life miserable for everyone concerned.  Do you see how a fire can get started?

If we don’t let our anger explode…we may let it ooze out in a subconscious way: 

.  Being constantly late.

.  Burning up the supper.

.  Avoiding people and being sarcastic.

.  Forgetting to call each other;  “that will let them know I’m angry”.


In my study and investigation this past weekend, I ran across a John Wesley Hymn.  Pay attention to his words as I did.

Quick as the apple of an eye, O God, my conscience make!

Awake my soul when sin is nigh,

And keep it still awake.

Oh, may the least omission pain my well instructed soul

And drive me to the blood again

Which makes the wounded whole!”

If such be the condition of our hearts in times of anger, our Lord will not be angry with us.

“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned [in our anger]* and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness [‘unrighteous anger’]* (everything not in accordance to His will an d purpose, thought, and action)  (1 John 1:9).

* I added [in our anger] and [unrighteous anger] for emphasis only.


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