The Hulk is a very confusing super hero. In the movie The Avengers everyone, including Bruce Banner (the guy who turns into the Hulk when he gets angry), is wary of the appearance of the green monster. But they know they need him at some point if they are to be successful against the evil Loki.
Towards the end of the movie when things were getting rough for the Avengers, Banner realizes that the Hulk must appear. He calmly walks in the direction of the massive enemy and reveals how he has learned to control when the Hulk appears. Captain America tells him that now might be a good time to get angry. Banner looks back just before he transforms into the enigmatic hero and says, “That’s my secret . . . I’m always angry.”
Anger isn’t always a bad thing. God is recorded as being angry at times in the Bible, and so is Jesus. Of course, there’s the time Jesus overturned the tables in the Temple in John 2. But if you flip forward a few chapters you’ll get another glimpse of the righteous anger of Jesus.
In John 11, as he approached Lazarus’ tomb, the Bible offers three emotions from Jesus:
33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him,and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. (New Living Translation)
Deeply troubled expresses agitation and wept means he shed a tear quietly. Some versions have something like “deeply moved” (NIV) for “a deep anger”. Literally it means “to snort like a horse”. It sounds funny at first. I pictured a cartoon character that turns dark red and has smoke coming out of his ears and nose. Who knows, maybe that’s what Jesus did. The point is that your Savior was really, really mad.
Jesus got angry when he saw the others wailing at the tomb of Lazarus, a man who had been loved by many – including Jesus. He was angry at death. He created the world and death wasn’t in his plans . . . and he absolutely loathes it. As he approached the tomb that day it was with great determination. Raising Lazarus would be a foretaste of what he would do in about a week for the rest of us who believe in Him. He marched forward to kick death’s butt, and he did it with a vengeance.
I wonder if Jesus was like that with other injustices. How often before he started his ministry had he witnessed unethical priests, leprous people or starving families and had the same anger burn within him? So when Banner says that he’s always angry, I picture Jesus saying, “I hear you, bro.”
We need to work hard at doing away with our Hulk-type of anger, the kind that is always about us not getting what we want. Let’s not do away with the kind of anger that Jesus must have lived with all the time: the kind that hates the effects of sin and does all it can to alleviate it for others and for God’s glory.
Godly anger is the opposite of apathy and can be quite the motivator. Allow it to work for you.