Believing Jesus would be “disappointed” in how the Church is handling controversial issues today — from the LGBT community to alcohol — Pastor Tim Harlow is challenging Christians to re-examine what truly made the Son of God mad.
“I believe Jesus would be angry with the way the Church is responding to things today, even if they’re theologically correct,” Harlow told The Christian Post. “We have an image problem, and I believe Jesus would tell us we have an image problem. People on the outside are watching us debate these issues, and they’re deciding they don’t want what’s on the inside.”
“That’s not to say theology doesn’t matter, but how we deal with these things does matter,” he added. “Jesus was angry at those whose attitudes got in the way of his purpose: To seek and to save the lost, to unite us with God’s amazing love.”
In his forthcoming book, What Made Jesus Mad: Rediscover the Blunt, Sarcastic, Passionate Savior of the Bible, Harlow, senior pastor of Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park, Illinois, identifies the issues that most angered Jesus and urges believers to align their hearts with His, thus getting back to actually following the Savior.
Harlow told CP that to truly know someone, it’s important to identify what makes them angry — not what makes them happy. It’s important, then, to ask the question: “What made Jesus mad?” rather than the cliché “What would Jesus do?”
“Oftentimes, we focus on the gentle, sweet image of Jesus, but in reality, He often got angry,” Harlow said. “Interestingly, what most often made Jesus mad were the church leaders, the Pharisees, and religious zealots; the representative authorities acting on behalf of God. If Jesus was mad at those people, what would He think today?”
“When Jesus got angry, He was only angry at those blocking access to God,” he continued. “He didn’t get angry at the adulteress and the tax collector; He got angry at those in the Church who were supposed to know better.”
In the Gospels, Jesus was angered by the hypocrisy, greed, judging, and lack of mercy coming from the hearts of people who supposedly followed God, Harlow contended. His anger is perhaps most evident in His response to those who were making a profit by exchanging money and selling animals at the temple (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; John 2:13-22).
“In those passages, Jesus overturns tables out of righteous anger,” Harlow said. “It’s fascinating: I always thought His anger stemmed from the money chargers charging too much money. But actually, He was angry because they were selling their wares in the Court of the Gentiles, crowding out those who had traveled to worship.”
“I don’t believe the cause of Jesus’ anger was the merchants selling too much,” he continued. “I believe He was angry because they were getting in the way of people trying to worship God.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett