John 8:48-59 - The Jews answered Jesus, "Are we not right in saying that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?" Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon, but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. Yet I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks it, and He is the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death." The Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet You say, 'If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death.' Are You greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do You make Yourself out to be?" Jesus answered, "If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, 'He is our God.' But you have not known Him. I know Him. If I were to say that I do not know Him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know Him, and I keep His Word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see My day. He saw it and was glad." So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." So they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.
Have you ever been so angry you were seeing red? Your heart pounds, your blood pressure rises, and your hands curve into claws. It's almost impossible to think clearly.
I know that feeling, and I bet you do, too. We can see it in action in this Bible passage, where Jesus talks to the religious leaders of His people. One by one, He drops phrases that get them more and more riled up. Our text above is loaded with them. With Jesus' last two words, "I am," He was claiming God's own Name as His own.
No wonder they tried to stone Him!
Jesus must have known they'd have that reaction. And yet He kept going. Why? Well, because these were things they needed to know. Everything Jesus said was true. He is the One whose word brings life. He is the Son of God, the One who knows the unseen God and makes Him known to us. He is the Messiah that Abraham looked forward to with hope. He is the great "I AM" of Israel, the God who revealed His Name to Moses (see Exodus 3:14).
It's easy for us to judge the religious leaders, but we do the same thing sometimes, don't we? When we get angry, do we stop to consider whether there might be some important truth in what the other person is saying or doing? We should, because God might have something for us to learn. Anger can cloud our understanding.
Of course, nobody wants to do this, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can do it. God can reach into our hearts and deal with our anger—giving us self-control and ears that listen, as well as wisdom to judge rightly. Then we can respond as God desires to that family member, that coworker, that neighbor down the street. Why? Because we belong to Jesus, who died and rose for our sakes. He will keep us close to Him.
THE PRAYER: Lord Holy Spirit, please work in my heart to give me wisdom, love, and self-control when I am angry. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What are some of your typical responses when you get really angry?
2. Is your manner of life something that others might say reflects your faith in God and a desire to be like Jesus?
3. When your anger arises, how do you address it head-on before it gets the best of you?
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