Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode THREE of the Bible 2021 podcast! Today we are focused on the anger of Jesus…what could possibly get Jesus mad?
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Let’s talk about anger a little bit. You’ve probably heard that it is not always sinful to get angry. Paul in Ephesians 4:26 quotes Psalms 4:4, which says, “ Be angry and do not sin; reflect in your heart while on your bed and be silent.” Both passages indicate that it is possible to be angry, but not in a sinful way. Paul in the Ephesians passage adds this, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the devil an opportunity.” So one way that anger can turn to sin is to let it fester and become bitterness, and another way to let anger turn into sin is to lash out at people. That said, there is apparently a time to be angry, and certain things we SHOULD be angry about. No, I’m not talking about a blown call in an important football game, but things much more important than that. If I were to ask you to think of a time Jesus got angry, you’d probably say when He drove out the money changers, but today’s passage explicitly says that Jesus was angry about something, but it had nothing to do with the exchange of money. Let’s read Mark 3 and see WHAT makes Jesus angry, and how He handles it.
After the paralytic incident we discussed yesterday, Jesus finds that He is being carefully watched by the religious leaders to see if He does anything else that raises their ire…and He most certainly does! Here’s the passage:
3 He told the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand before us.”4 Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 After looking around at them with anger, he was grieved at the hardness of their hearts and told the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. Mark 3
What made Jesus angry? I guess the best answer is the hardheartedness of the Scribes and Pharisees. I want to say legalism here, but that’s not exactly it, depending on how you want to define legalism. In this case, it is not that the Pharisees are insisting that Jesus obey the commands of the Word of God to the letter, but rather they are insisting that Jesus obey the TRADITIONS and teachings that had been ADDED to the Word of God over the years. The Bible does not at all say to not heal people, or help people on the Sabbath, the Bible commands that no work be done on the Sabbath. Over the years since the law of Moses was given to the people, all sorts of traditions had been added, and in many cases, the Jewish people paid more attention to those traditions than they did to the Word of God. They added to the Word and then considered their additions to be equally important – or of greater importance – than what God had told them. This sort of stubbornness caused Jesus to be angry and grieved, and He knew it represented hardness of their heart. How did Jesus handle His anger? He simply looked at the hard-hearted Pharisees with anger and grief.
One big thing to notice in this passage – it is in response to the healing of this man on the Sabbath day that the Pharisees FIRST begin plotting to kill Jesus – this healing is, probably in concert with forgiving the paralytic’s sins, what led to the initial murderous rage of the Pharisees. I find that very telling of their nature and character.
Charles Spurgeon sees much in that look and response of Jesus,
In that look there were two things—there were anger and grief—indignation and inward sorrow. “He looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts.” He was angry that they should willingly blind their eyes to a truth so plain, an argument so convincing. He had put to them a question to which there could only be one answer, and they would not give it; he had thrown light on their eyes, and they would not see it; he had utterly destroyed their chosen pretext for opposition, and yet they would persist in opposing him. Evidently it is possible to be angry and to be right. Hard to many is the precept, “Be ye angry, and sin not”; and this fact renders the Saviour’s character all the more admirable, since he so easily accomplished what is so difficult to us. He could be angry with the sin, and yet never cease to be compassionate with the sinner. His was not anger which desired evil to its object; no touch of malevolence was in it; it was simply love on fire, love burning with indignation against that which is unlovely.Mingled with this anger there was grief. He was heartbroken because their hearts were so hard. C. H. Spurgeon, “Jesus Angry with Hard Hearts,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 32 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1886), 182–183.
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for January: Mark 1:15 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
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