Pissed Christ

Angry Jesus

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. (Mark 3:5)

We all like the nice Jesus. You know, the guy with the Mona Lisa smile and gentle, lowly heart. The guy who wouldn’t snuff out a smoldering wick or raise his voice. The guy who carries the lambs gently in his arms, who blesses little kids. The guy who forgives your every sin, seventy times seven times over. You know, the smiling Jesus. That guy.

But there’s this other Jesus, the Jesus with buttons. And if you push the wrong button, something happens to the nice Jesus: the beatific smile disappears, his eyes darken, his jaw clenches, and—KABLOOEY—you’ve got yourself one choleric Christ on your hands. And let me tell you, it’s not a pretty sight. Tables get overturned, pigeons feathers fly everywhere, woes get hurled, people get whipped. It can be a frenetic frenzy of fury that you really don’t want to be the butt of.

On the other hand, it’s kind of nice to have a Jesus who can lose his cool once in a while. An eternally calm and collected Jesus would be like having Spock for a savior. I don’t want a Lord on Prozac; I want one that can blow a gasket if necessary, and it seems to me that there are a few things that should make any decent Lamb’s blood boil.

So just what does drive the number two personality of the Godhead into an apoplectic fit? Setting aside his dad’s many Old Testament paroxysms (Okay, so I’ve used apoplectic and paroxysms in successive sentences; I like those words, and, besides, I didn’t have to look them up.), it’s not hard to infer what burns up the Son. At the very least he hates hardness of heart and hypocrisy (and quite possibly, excessive alliteration as well). Whenever he comes across these things you can be pretty sure he’s going to blow. He also gets a little piqued over religious leaders who use their positions for personal gain. And he really gets ticked at those who muddy the Good News for others or lead them into sin. Can you say “millstone” baby? Jesus doesn’t seem to sweat the small stuff much, but he definitely has his pet peeves.

The positive side of Jesus’ sensitive trigger finger is that, since he’s a way righteous dude, when he gets angry he can’t help but do something cool. Unlike us, whose anger usually results in various forms of stupidity, a ticked Jesus pulls off some really hip stuff. He clears the temple of greedy riffraff. He publicly scorches religious assholes. He whacks the wicked rabble who pull the strings. He also forgives people of their sins. He even heals people when he gets mad. If this is divine wrath at work, I say let’s have more of it. Keep your pansy Son of Metroman. Give me a seething savior, a raging redeemer, a crime-kicking Christ any day.

Don’t get me wrong. I like a mellow divinity once in a while too. But even God has to blow off some steam every so often, and when he does I’d rather he directed all that pent up wrath at somebody else, if you know what I mean.

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