I remember years ago when I was studying the Gospel’s account of Jesus unleashing his anger in the Temple market. A commentator made me take notice of something I hadn’t before–Jesus fashioned a whip. I mean, I knew he made a whip. Duh, it’s right there in black and white. What I hadn’t stopped to think about before was that it took time to make that whip. I have no idea how long it took him, not too long I suspect, but the point the commentator was making was that Jesus paused. He didn’t just have a crazy, flying off the handle hissy fit. His was a righteous anger, not a big show for the sake of drama or thoughtless violence that he’d only regret later.
I know that there are people who love to paint God as a violent, vengeful, capricious being. And a quick skim of Revelation doesn’t help to offset that way of thinking. He sounds like all terror and judgment. Thank goodness for a commentator like N.T. Wright who makes us pause to see how very mindful God is toward his people. He thoughtfully and mercifully gives instructions to carefully mark his own with a seal in order to preserve them against the earth shaking he knows must happen. Once again we see how his perfect justice is balanced with his perfect mercy. He’s amazing.