It happened when Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues. He saw a disabled woman who was bent over, called her over and declared she was freed from her disability before laying His hands on her. She was healed instantly and glorified God.
The strange thing that happened next was that the synagogue leader was ‘indignant’, or as The Message puts it ‘furious’. Who was he angry with? From his words it would appear that he was furious with the woman, because he said, ‘Six days have been defined as work days. Come on one of the six if you want to be healed, but not on the Sabbath’. What an attack on this poor woman who had suffered from a physical complaint for eighteen years! Apparently all she had done was to be in the right place at the right time. Jesus initiated her healing by calling her to come to Him.
The anger of the leader was unrighteous and misplaced upon a helpless victim. He insisted upon rules and regulations that completely miss the loving heart of God. His unrighteous anger was most likely rooted in jealousy of Jesus, who was gaining such a following and was popular with all the people.
In contrast we now see the righteous anger of Jesus which motivated Him to challenge the leader of the synagogue. How we all long for someone to come to the rescue when a helpless victim is being bullied! Jesus is the strong rescuer and He speaks angrily with rightful authority to bring the leader into order. He points out the sin of hypocrisy saying, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?’
Jesus sets the example for us that there are some things God wants us to be angry about. We need to be angry enough about injustice, cruelty, sin and evil to take some action about changing things. It was Edmund Burke who was attributed with saying ‘Evil prospers when good men do nothing’.
William Carey was rightfully angry when he witnessed the evil practice of satee in India. Innocent women were burnt on the funeral pyre of their husbands leaving children as complete orphans. He was unable to restrain people from carrying out this barbarous act even though he did his best to reason with them. He started a newspaper to mount a campaign against the practice and after many years the British government in India finally banned it.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, may we get angry about the things You want us to, and not the things Satan wants us to. Help us to rightfully discern sin and evil and be willing to fight against them in a way which is righteous and godly. Help us to process our feelings of anger and deal with them before You if they arise from sin in our heart attitudes and are being expressed in wrong ways. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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