On another Sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and was teaching. Now a man was there whose right hand was withered. The experts in the law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they could find a reason to accuse him. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, “Get up and stand here.” So he rose and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, to save a life or to destroy it?” After looking around at them all, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” The man did so, and his hand was restored. But they [the pharisees] were filled with mindless rage and began debating with one another what they would do to Jesus.Luke 6:6-11
Let me start out by saying that I am in no way drawing a comparison through this post of person to person. Yet, I am in every way drawing a comparison of entity to entity… the ruler of the kingdom of the air.
Did you notice anything that seemed familiar in the above passage? Anything feel… modern? Front page news-ish? Current state of affairs-ish? As I read this passage, I am struck by the similarity between the Pharisees of old, and those today who would dismiss the good deeds of a person simply because they hate that person with, well, a mindless rage. Rage has become our modern world’s defining characteristic.
I suppose there really is no reason for astonishment over this, as it only confirms that the very same spirit, who was the driving force behind the blinding hatred toward Jesus, is alive and well today in those who do not know Christ. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not speaking of anger. Anger is a normal, God-given emotion that even Jesus experienced (many times, I’m sure). We can be angry and not sin. But rage is altogether different and does not find its origin in God.
The Bible explicitly tells us that it is Satan who is working in those who are disobedient to God:
And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest.Ephesians 2:1-3
What I find astonishing, if I may say, is the frequency with which we see this same spirit at work in many professing Christians today. Whether toward the world or other Christians, the implications of this, in terms of spiritual condition, is sobering. Especially considering Paul’s statement above, “the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience“.
This is not my own point of view. God’s Word itself, unequivocally addresses this issue head on:
We know that we have crossed over from death to life because we love our fellow Christians. The one who does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates his fellow Christian is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.1 John 3:14-15
If anyone says “I love God” and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too.1 John 4:20-21
You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. You must put away all bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and slanderous talk—indeed all malice.Ephesians 4:29-31
Not only is this type of behavior grievous to God, it publicly dishonors the name of Jesus. When backed into a corner, many try to justify their indignant outbursts by claiming, “I don’t hate my fellow Christian. I don’t hate others in the world. I just strongly disagree with them, and sometimes that can come across as anger”. But, that doesn’t get anyone off the hook.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.James 1:19-20
“You have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not murder,’ and ‘whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.’ But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults a brother will be brought before the council, and whoever says ‘Fool’ will be sent to fiery hell.Matthew 5:21-22
This mindless rage that has gripped our world today finds its source in the Evil One. Don’t be deceived, it is not righteous anger that makes us hate our neighbor, or brother, or sister in Christ. It is satanic rage. And it has settled upon our world like a thick fog; seeping even into the Church.
If you are a Christian and you struggle with rage, I strongly encourage you to repent and turn to God to be set free. Rage is a powerful tool in the hand of the enemy, don’t underestimate its power. It will steal your witness and consume your life, if you let it.
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