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Holy Anger:  Seeking Justice and Righteousness

Empowering LEADERSHIP 101

Holy Anger:  Seeking Justice and Righteousness



John 2:13–21

When Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple, everyone understood this loving Shepherd was dead serious about justice and righteousness. He could lead people because He didn’t need people. His courage came from His sufficiency in His Father, which allowed Him to carry out unpopular tasks and leave His unforgettable mark.


John 2:13–22

While at times Jesus could act in ways that seemed harsh—as when He drove out the money changers and confronted the Jews—His short ministry also provides us with some crucial relational pictures of a leader. By looking at the entire record, we see both the tough and tender sides of Christ’s leadership. Consider several of the New Testament’s greatest pictures of leadership:

1. Father and Child: This is a warm and loving relationship in which the leader nurtures and respects his or her followers. “You know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,” says the apostle Paul (1 Thess. 2:11)

2. Husband and Wife: This is a supportive, covenant relationship in which the leader shows love and commitment. “I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband . . . to Christ,” says Paul to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 11:2).

3. Head and Body: This is a picture of the governing, protecting relationship in which the leader gives direction. “Speaking the truth in love,” writes Paul, “may [we] grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share” (Eph. 4:1516).

4. Vine and Branches: This is a picture of the leader as a source of nourishment. The leader offers provision. “I am the vine, you are the branches,” says Jesus. “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit” (John 15:5).

5. King and Citizens: This is a picture of wisdom and influence. The leader guides the people. “You are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19).

6. Potter and Clay: This is a picture of responsibility and surrender. The leader develops the people. “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” (Rom. 9:21).

7. Vinedresser and Vineyard: This is a picture of a farmer who prunes and cares for his own. The leader disciplines the people. “Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2).

8. Captain and Army: This is a picture of authority and training. The leader prepares the troops for battle. “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life” (2 Tim. 2:34).

9. Creator and Creature: This is a picture of power and submission. The leader reproduces himself in others. “Put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:10).

10. Prophet and People: This is a picture of anointing and spiritual power. The leader corrects and envisions. “A certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he . . . said, ‘Thus says the Holy Spirit . . .’ ” (Acts 21:1011).


11. Shepherd and Sheep: This is a picture of warmth and beauty. The leader guides and protects his sheep. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

12. Priest and Worshipers: This is a picture of godliness and spiritual intimacy. The leader connects people with God. “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).

As you read through Jesus’ life and the rest of the New Testament, watch for these metaphors. They provide wonderful pictures of the kind of leadership roles God wants us to fulfill.

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