I have heard of a painting in which the artist depicted the boy Jesus with an armful of wood, on His way to Joseph’s carpenter shop. In that painting, the rays of sunlight which fall across His shoulders leave the shadow of a cross on the ground beside Him.
Of course, that picture is nothing more than a conception which grew out of the imagination of the artist (and I have frankly been unable to even verify that such a painting exists); but the implications are true. The supreme objective of the Lord Jesus Christ was the Cross. From His baptism in the Jordan River all the way to the crucifixion three and a half years later, Jesus’ steps were resolutely in the direction of the Cross.
We tend to think of Jesus as weak and effeminate; but that is definitely not a physical description of my hard working, muscular and manly Savior. No! He was the step son of a carpenter, used to hard manual labor, and very much of a man. Don’t confuse His “meekness” with “weakness”. “Meekness” is defined as “being able and justified in striking back, but not doing so” – and that is our Savior. Yes; He was “meek”; but He certainly was NOT “weak”!
In fact, He got angry on occasion! “Whoa, preacher; I think you have been drinking the water straight from the Frogpond! Maybe, Tom; just maybe Jesus maybe possibly got “righteous vexed” but surely He did not get angry!”
Well; yeah He did! And He had every reason!
Since I only have your undivided for 300 seconds, I will trust you to read the reference: John 2:13-17.
The “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” concept has been so overworked that many preach and follow a Christ who has scant resemblance to the real Christ of the New Testament. Yes, Jesus spoke of Himself as being “meek and lowly in heart”, a description which reveals His long suffering and maybe even His impatience with impossible people such as we are; but nothing in there speaks of Him as being “weak”.
You see, the Bible does not say or even suggest that He is “indulgent” or “complacent” to consider sin lightly in the lives of His people. We cannot ignore such statements as: “He looked around at them in anger”, when Jesus was in the presence of the hypocritical Pharisees. There was nothing “meek and mild” about Jesus when He sent that fierce message to King Herod which began “Go tell that fox …” (actually feminine in gender – “that vixen”).
Nor was there any mildness in Jesus when He turned on His heel with eyes blazing with fire, and said to Peter who had so grossly misunderstood the Cross and had tried to get Jesus to bypass it: “Get thee behind me, Satan!” Then there were those blistering and scorching words He hurled at the Pharisees. “You whitewashed sepulchers! You serpents! You are of your father the devil!”
So, at the very beginning of His public ministry, we see demonstrated for us the indignation of Jesus, the righteous anger of our Lord. This incident of Jesus’ anger had to do with their desecration of the Temple (His “Father’s House”). Here He was, the Savior – their Savior; their Messiah – coming into His Father’s House – A House of Prayer – and they were making that sacred place into a “den of thieves”. He was presenting Himself to them; and they were so full of themselves and the world they were going about their business as usual and had no time for Him. When Jesus saw that, He was moved with indignation – He was mad!
The disciples were amazed and awed because of what Jesus did. He had a burning passion that the true purpose of the Temple should be maintained; and He had dared to challenge the religious leaders of the day.
The whip which my Savior – that step son of a hard working carpenter — made and used was not for conquest, but for cleansing! And He “cleaned their clocks”; because they were perverting the worship of His Father!
Dear friend, you do not want to face that side of Jesus when you die or when He returns (whichever comes first)! Believe me, you want His Mercy; not His Justice! Believe me; you want Him on your side when the devil points his boney finger at you and accuses you before God’s Throne!
How about it? Don’t know how? I do; and I’ll share!
Tom Mooty has served Newport’s West End Baptist Church as its Supply Pastor, Interim Pastor, Pastor, Senior Pastor, and Very Senior Pastor for a cumulative total of 31 years. He brought this column to life in 1972; and can be reached at P.O. Box 851 in Newport; email@example.com; or 423-623-9056.