“He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.”–Mark 3:5, NIV
We don’t like to think of Jesus being angry. We like to think of him as gentle, meek, mild. Whatever else he was, he was never mild. Perhaps one reason we find Jesus’ anger uncomfortable is that we so often find our own embarrassing. Anger feels sinful, but the Bible commands us to be angry without sin.
Much of the congregation in the synagogue waited to see if Jesus would dare heal on the sabbath. At least the leadership was looking for an excuse to accuse Jesus of law-breaking. If Jesus had been offended at their hostility, as would many of us in that situation, it could have led him into sin.
But Jesus was angry at their hardness of heart towards not only a suffering member of their synagogue, but towards God himself, who did not consider deeds of mercy a violation of the sabbath. Notice that Jesus was angry with sin. He did not direct his anger personally at anyone in the room. His distress over their stubborn hearts was for their sake, and therefore loving, not for his sake. He illustrated for us how to be angry without sin.