What Makes Jesus Angry?
In Mark 3 Jesus gets into trouble with the religious leaders again. This is a recurring theme isn’t it? This time He gets into trouble for healing a man on the Sabbath, or the holy day. Here is the account: 3 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” 4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
Most of us don’t have the same mindset about the Sabbath as they had in the first century. You were not allowed to do any work on the Sabbath. The religious leaders are looking at Jesus to see if He would do “work” or heal a man on the Sabbath. These leaders had never really had to deal with this issue before because no one had ever healed like Jesus healed. But instead of being grateful for what Jesus did for this man they were upset. This is one of the few times in the Bible where we read that Jesus is “angry”. Why is Jesus angry? Jesus is angry because the religious leaders were putting their requirements on obedience to God ahead of the interests of this man who needed to be healed. They believed their man made requirements (God did not forbid healing in His laws) were more important than this man who stood before Jesus. Andy Stanley describes this as the difference between “vertical morality” and “horizontal morality”. Jesus was angry because these leaders pretended to have “vertical morality” with God but in fact, they did not. They were phony. And the evidence of their phoniness was their lack of “horizontal morality” for their fellow man. Think of it this way. Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to love God and to love your neighbor. But how can your love for God be evaluated? I don’t know if you really believe what you say you believe about your love for God…I’m easily duped. But if you love your neighbor, even when your neighbor is unlovable, I can see a tangible expression of your vertical love for God. What makes Jesus angry here is the hypocrisy of claiming to have “vertical morality” without any evidence of “horizontal morality”. If you don’t love your neighbor, you don’t love God….that’s what Jesus said and what the rest of the Bible teaches. To claim to love God and not love others is hypocritical. Do you love others in a way that demonstrates your love for God? Is there someone who just came to mind right now that you need to love or demonstrate that love to? Then do it!