What Makes Jesus Mad
WHAT MAKES JESUS MAD
What makes you mad? Better yet is, “Who makes you mad?” Now don’t answer out loud!
- And be careful about looking out the corner of your eye! Some of you may already be in trouble!
- But really, what makes you mad? Probably the number one answer is “people”.
- And it’s not really the people, it’s what they do!
Here in Matthew 23 Jesus is speaking to the multitudes as well as His disciples and in this discourse He tells them, and He tells us some things He doesn’t like, some attitudes and actions that upset Him.
- Therefore, they are things that we need to stay away from or it may be that some of us need to repent of.
- Let’s look at chapter.
Some of the things that are Lord didn’t like about these people were there inconsistencies, their double standards. Look at verse 2 – 3: The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them.
The Pharisees and scribes were the experts in religious matters of that day.
- These men studied, interpreted, read and recorded the law and from their efforts they would teach the people.
But they had a double standard. They would teach the people what the people should do but they themselves would do otherwise.
- Basically, they didn’t practice what they preached! They say, but not do!
- They talk the talk, but they didn’t walk the walk.
I don’t think it’s hard to understand why our Lord would be upset at this practice.
- We certainly don’t like double standards on our jobs.
- “Cut expenses – they spend more.” “Everyone considered for promotion – they promote unfairly.”
We don’t like double standards in other areas of life. (Dating – “I love you – date someone else. “Those who show up for practice don’t get to play” – those who don’t show up, play.)
- These kind of things destroy trust and confidence.
- It turns people the other way. (“If that’s what being a Christian is, I don’t want that.”)
- This will destroy our effectiveness as ambassadors of Christ.
- It’s no wonder Christ didn’t like this!
- We better walk the walk if we’re going to talk the talk.
Look at another double standard, verse 4: And they tied up heavy loads, and laid them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.
These guys didn’t mind placing a burden on someone else, but they sure weren’t going to place or carry the same burdens themselves.
- Many of these “heavy loads” consisted of regulations and extra ordinances, and traditional interpretations.
- For example, concerning the Sabbath…it was to be a day of rest…but still some things had to be done…for example, preparing a meal to eat.
- So, what these Pharisees and scribes did is they set regulations on how much work could be done.
- So in Matthew 12:1 when Jesus’ disciples got hungry and plucked a few heads of grain and ate it, as far as these guys were concerned, that was a violation of the law because their plucking exceeded their limitations of work that could be done on the Sabbath.
- And, in Matthew 12:10-12, when Jesus healed a man with a withered hand, well that was unlawful too!
- But, if they had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath…well that would be ok for them to get it out!
You remember in Matthew 15 the Pharisees and scribes wanted to know why Jesus’ disciples “transgressed the tradition of the elders” by not washing their hands when they a bread?
- So they bound that tradition on others and yet they violated the law by not honoring their own mother and father.
They imposed the severest ordinances on others but required nothing of themselves…and did nothing to lighten anyone’s load.
- What they required of others, they didn’t require of themselves…what they commanded of others they didn’t command of themselves.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 16 to, “Deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him.”
- But He tells us that only after He has “denied himself and died on the cross.”
- These people would require the same of you but they would not make the sacrifice themselves.
When we teach people to keep the commandments of Christ, we must do the same ourselves.
- If we require baptism of someone else then we too should be baptized.
- If we require others to deny themselves of the pleasures of this world for the sake of Christ, then we too should make the same sacrifices.
- Whatever we require of others we must require of ourselves.
- To do otherwise would be displeasing to Christ!
- But also, we need to be careful of placing traditional, man-made, unnecessary burdens on others in the first place.
Look at another there inconsistencies that upset Jesus found in versus 16 – 18: Woe to you, blind guides, who say, “Whoever swears by the Temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the Temple, he is obliged.” “You fools and blind men; which is more important, the gold, or the Temple that sanctified the gold? And,” Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering up on it, he is obligated.”
- They were inconsistent with the keeping of oaths.
- One minute an oath or a promise was good, and the next minute another promise was not good.
- It all depended on what the promise was validated by.
- It is kind of the same idea of making a promise but having your fingers crossed.
- It provided them with loopholes for a way out.
- It was convenient to use when they would make a promise that they couldn’t or wouldn’t keep.
- But in verse 19 – 22, Jesus says that it doesn’t make any difference what credentials, collateral, or “by this or thats” you put on a promise, a promise is a promise and it is to be honored.
In fact he tells us in Matthew 5:34, “make no oath at all, either by heaven or by earth. But let your statement be, “Yes, yes or No, no, and anything beyond these is evil.”
- These so-called “men of God” should have been men of their word that could be trusted but they weren’t.
- We had better be! (Some of us have made an oath at baptism. “Well I was young then. I agreed until others made me mad, or my husband died, or my kids grew up.” We did the same when we got married.)
In verse 23 we find another double standard: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
- Basically what they did was stress the minors and overlook the majors.
Do you remember last week in Matthew 22:34 – 40, the lawyer asked Jesus, “Which is the great commandment in the law?”
- In other words, which commandment is foremost… which is the most important?
- And do you remember what Jesus said? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
- In other words, what He said was, “You can keep all the commandments you want to, you can declare one commandment as being greater than the other, but if you do not love God and love your neighbor your commandment keeping is worthless.”
- That is exactly what was going on here.
- They gave their tithes and yet they neglected the more important provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.
- They obeyed the law but there was no love behind their obedience.
Jesus will be no less unhappy with us if we do the same.
- Woe to us if we visit the sick, widow, and orphans but have no love.
- Woe to us if we preach the gospel but have no mercy
- Woe to us if we reprove or rebuke but have no compassion.
Jesus didn’t like their double standards… He wanted them and He wants us to practice what we preach, to expect of ourselves what we expect of others, to be men and women of our word, and to keep the whole counsel of God.
- He doesn’t like double standards.
But there were some other things he didn’t like as well about these people. He didn’t like their motives. Look at verses 5 – 12:
Vs. 5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men…Verse 6: They love the place of honor… And the chief seats…. And verse 7… And the respectful greetings such as Rabbi…vs. 9…father and vs. 10…leaders.”
- This is not a passage that tells us that we can’t refer to someone as a teacher or as a leader.
- We must keep this in the context of what Jesus is saying.
These men desired these titles for self-glorification.
- They didn’t do things for the glory of God or for the good of others…they did it for self!
- They were arrogant and haughty!
- They wanted people to exalt them?
- But look what Jesus says in verse 12: and who ever exalt himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
- Arrogance, haughtiness, and selfishness finds no pleasure with Christ. (It closes communications, builds resentment, breeds conflict and competition, and it demonstrates the wrong message about the kingdom; “I am better than you!”)
Now look at verse 13. Jesus didn’t like the hindrance these men were to others: “Woe to you; scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”
- Because of their inconsistencies, their motives, the bad example, their rejection of Christ, their open disagreement with his teachings, these men had lost the promise themselves.
- But even worse, they had driven others away as well.
- Woe unto us if we should ever “shut the kingdom of heaven off” from anyone.
- Some of us may need to look at our attitudes, our motives, our teachings, and our relationship with Christ and be sure that we are not a hindrance to others.
One last thing that Jesus didn’t like; verse 15: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,, because you travel about on see and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourself.”
- These men were not content to bring a convert to Judaism or to God.
- No, they went beyond that and brought them to their false doctrine, to their opinions, and traditions.
- In short, they made them just as they were
Sometimes we see preachers today to build their own following rather than a following for Christ.
- An elder or a teacher might do the same.
- To find those who are tenderhearted, subject to the Lord’s will in their life: those who are unsuspecting; to bring them to anyone other than Christ and his will would truly be a wickedness of the worst kind.
- No wonder our Lord would be displeased.
These are just a few ways to upset our Lord. Ways which he too will say to us, “Woe unto you.”
- His desire for us is to be kingdom people and to work for the growth of his kingdom.
- To practice what these men practiced would be to cause confusion, distressed, ineffectiveness, and turned people the other way.
- That is where you are, if any of these are your practice, I hope you will change- repent.
- May we never be displeasing to our Lord!
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023