Friday, April 3, 2015

Holy Week Thoughts: Anger and Compassion

This is Part 2 of my thoughts as I pondered some of the events of Holy Week. Part 1 can be found HERE.

According to Mark's gospel when Jesus got to Jerusalem he entered the temple, looked around at everything, then went to Bethany with the twelve disciples since it was late. The next morning when he got to the temple, he found people buying and selling. The first thing he did was overturn the tables and throw out the money-changers. He was upset to see what they were doing in a place that was supposed to be holy, and he said to them,

Is it not written,
 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations?' 
But you have made it a den of robbers. (Mark 11:17)

He. Was. Angry. Really angry.

I get angry sometimes, and I wish I could say that it was always for the right reasons, but that would not be true. I can get angry over the simplest things. I know that when I am tired I am more easily irritated, but that really doesn't justify my anger. Thank God that he knows I am weak and doesn't condemn me, but forgives.

Jesus was rightfully angry and he was also compassionate. After clearing the temple area, he began healing the blind and broken. He was kind to the hurting ones and showed great mercy. Even the children were shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!”

This made the religious leaders happy, right? Wrong! It made them furious! They actually thought those children were out of line. They indignantly asked Jesus if he heard what they were saying. I love his answer in Matthew 21:15,16: "Yes, have you never read,

Out of the mouth of infants 
and nursing babies
you have prepared praise?"

You would think that of all places, a place of worship would have been where he was most welcome. The leaders had the scriptures. They should have recognized him as the Messiah, the one they had been waiting for. I suspect they were so steeped in their own traditions and all the rules they had put on the people that they had completely forgotten the prophecies of old.

I wonder sometimes if this has happened in much of Christendom today. Have we, (have I) like the Pharisees, put such heavy burdens on people with rules about how to dress, how to speak, how to use our time, etc., that we have forgotten the most important part? Are we so busy trying to do everything just right that we miss seeing his great love and mercy?

Did Jesus make people clean up their acts before he went to them? NO! Why not? He knew they could not change without him. He looked on them with compassion right where they were in their messy lives and he loved them. He has done the same for us.

Shouldn't I have that kind of compassion?  Sometimes I'm so caught up in my own thoughts and problems I don't even notice where I might be overlooking someone, maybe even in my own family.

Jesus said,

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul 
and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. 
And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 
On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
 (Matthew 22: 37-40)

I want to learn to love God more and also learn to love others well. I pray that God will open my eyes to who my neighbor is and enable me to show love.

Part 3 of my Holy Week thoughts can be found HERE.

This has been slightly updated from last year and I am linking up with:

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