first cast out the beam out of thine own eye;
and then shalt thou see clearly
to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
As Jesus concluded His teaching on the topic of judging, there was a flash of anger in His final remarks. There was someone in the audience that caught the eyes of Jesus because He uses the singular, hupokrita, for hypocrite. The word was used in a way to heighten emotion to designate the person or thing being addressed. So, who was in the audience that Jesus might have had in mind?
Judas Iscariot was present when the Sermon on the Mount was given.
Though Judas was numbered among the original Twelve disciples, Jesus knew that Judas was a hypocrite. Judas would one day stand in judgment on Jesus Himself, and betray Him, leading to the arrest and crucifixion of Christ. Judas did not see clearly that Jesus was the Son of the Living God. For three years, Judas would hear about the kingdom of God, and even tell others to repent for the kingdom was at hand, but Judas spoke of things he did not comprehend.
Is it any wonder that our opening Bible Class song is really our opening prayer?
“Open my eyes Lord,
I want to see Jesus,
To reach out and touch Him,
And say that I love Him.
Open my ears Lord
Help me to listen
Open my eyes Lord
I want to see Jesus.”
Was Jesus looking at Judas when He said, “Thou hypocrite?” Was that a word of warning, and a gospel call for Judas to repent, lest he be confirmed in sin? Does Judas today, having gone to his own place, remember the look of Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount? Does Judas still remember Jesus saying with emotion, “Thou hypocrite?”
The scribes and Pharisees were in the audience the day Jesus delivered His sermon.
As a group, the scribes and Pharisees softened traveled together to try and capture Jesus in His teaching, to condemn Him.
As a group the scribes and Pharisees were the most critical of people in society for, they constantly stood in judgment on how others dressed, what they ate, whom they befriended, and whether are not proper worship was given to God. Perhaps Jesus, in a flash of anger, pointed His holy finger to the group of religious, but not regenerated men, of like mind, sitting together for comfort, and courage, and said to them collectively: “You hypocrite.” If that was the case then the prophesy of Isaiah was fulfilled.
“ For this people’s heart
has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise, they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.”
~Matthew 13:15, NIV
Though it is uncertain whom Jesus had in mind as he finished His thoughts on being judgmental, what is certain is the Lord had a flash of anger. While this is the first verse in the gospel of Matthew, we read of Jesus being angry, it will not be the last. As the life of Christ is studied, there are several times when Jesus became angry, and on two occasions burned with white hot fury. So, what made Jesus angry?
First, in context, the judgmental hypocrite, made Jesus angry.
The offending party is commanded to make sure they have clean hands, and a pure heart, before making a final decision about someone else. I have read of a lady who dusted and dusted but all she could see was dust. Finally, she took off her glasses and saw they were covered…….with dust!
It is human nature to condone in ourselves what we condemn in others. When that is done, we should not be surprised if there is a flash of divine anger, and the Spirit shouts in our soul, “You hypocrite!”
Second, political opposition to the work of the gospel ministry, made Jesus angry.
One day Jesus was told that He must immediately depart from the villages where He had been teaching, as He made His way toward Jerusalem. “Rabbi, you need to get out and depart from here because Herod will kill you.” And Jesus said unto them, ‘Go you, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.”
A fox was an unclean animal in Jewish society, so this was an appalling, a degrading name Jesus applied to Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great. “Nevertheless, I must walk to day, and tomorrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perishes out of Jerusalem” (Luke 13:31-33).
There is no stopping the Kingdom of God. There should be a holy outrage against any government that tells the Church it cannot assemble, even in the name of national security, or social safety. If the sheep become concerned, sick, scared, or providentially hindered, and stay away from one another for personal reasons, that is another issue, between them and the Lord. However, this much is clear. No government on earth, has the right, or power, to stop the work of gospel ministry.
When the world is most fearful, the Church must be the most fearless. The Royal Command stands: “Do not forsake gathering together” (Heb. 10:25). We must work, today, and tomorrow, and the day following. A prophet must not perish out of the country. Let the sheep follow the Good Shepherd in this matter.
“Onward, Christian soldiers,
marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
going on before!
Christ, the royal Master,
leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
see His banner go!
Onward, Christian soldiers,
marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
going on before!”
Third, making merchandise of the Father’s House made Jesus angry.
On two occasions Jesus cleansed the Temple area where people had turned God’s house of prayer into a “den of thieves.”
The first temple cleansing occurred just after Jesus’ first miracle, the turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana. The Jewish Passover took place soon after that wedding. Jesus went to Jerusalem to honor that holy day. What the Lord found in the temple horrified Him. Jesus saw those that sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money, sitting, each one had their hand out. Each one taking advantage of God’s people, on sacred ground. When Jesus had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, the merchants, the sheep, and the oxen. Jesus violently scattered the illicit money, and overturned the tables; And Jesus said unto them that sold doves, Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of merchandise (John 2:15, 16).
The emotion of Christ was a settled anger, for He took the time to personally make that scourge of small cords. That short whip was a mighty instrument in the hands of the Son of Man. His strength was greater than that of Samson, as He violent overturned the tables with heavy coins, and merchandise.
The second temple cleansing occurred three years later, just after Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph. It was the last week of His life (Matt. 21:13). Once again, Jesus went to the temple. Once more, Jesus became white hot with holy rage. Once more, Jesus drove out those who had made His Father’s house, a den of thieves. And His disciples remembered that it was written in Psalm 69:9, “Zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.”
By way of application, consider these questions. If Jesus were to walk by the holy ground on which a Christian church has been built, with a steeple reaching towards heaven for the glory of God, what would He see? What has been done with the Father’s property? Would Jesus know immediately that His Father’s House is a place for God’s people, young and old, to engage in prayer, and praise, worship, and study? What would Jesus say today about His Father’s houses?
Fourth, a heart without mercy made Jesus angry.
One day, when Jesus was about to enter a synagogue in an unknown town in Galilee, He saw a man whose right hand was shriveled. Jesus paused, and when He did, a group of Pharisees paused as well. They were watching Jesus to see if He would use His well-known power of healing to help the afflicted man. Jesus knew He was being watched. He knew the Pharisees wanted to find fault with Him. Jesus understood the dynamics of the moment. If he helped the man, He would be accused of working on the Sabbath Day, something the Law forbid. The penalty could mean death by stoning.
So, the Pharisees watched Jesus with bated breath, anticipating the moment their devilish joy would be realized, when Jesus could be formally accused and brought before the Sanhedrin. Despite the culture of His day, Jesus defied those who wanted to silence Him, and hurt Him. Jesus said to the man whose right hand was shriveled, “Come to Me.”
The tension built. But before Jesus acted, He paused. He had something to say to the Pharisees. He had a question He demanded they answer. Jesus said unto them, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?”
The Pharisees were taken aback. They had not expected Jesus to question their hearts. They were there to judge Jesus, not be questioned, or humiliated by Him. In addition, the question Jesus asked was put in such a way, they could only remain silent. The righteous answer was in the question itself. Of course, it is lawful to do good on any day of the week, including the Sabbath. Of course, it is right to save a life, even on the Sabbath. So, the Pharisees held their peace.
However, their silence did not stop Jesus from standing in judgment on them with holy anger. Jesus was angry with the Pharisee because of the hardness of their hearts. Jesus was not impressed with how many religious acts the Pharisees engaged in. He cared nothing about how many souls they evangelized for Judaism. Jesus was angry with the Pharisees because He saw the hardness of their hearts. They were religious without any spiritual reality. They were mean, and ready to kill.
The Bible says that after Jesus healed the man’s hand, the Pharisees immediately left the synagogue to regather and unit with the Herodians, how together they might destroy Jesus (Matt. 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11). The Pharisees united with their political arch enemies to destroy Jesus. Such is the hardness of the heart.
There is more to say about what made Jesus angry if the word wrath is studied in Scripture.
In the Revelation we read of a coming Day of Wrath. “For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:17). The apostle John spoke about the wrath of the Lamb from which people flee saying “to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne” (Rev. 6:16).
The anger of Jesus, the wrath of Jesus, is something to be terrified of. And yet, we read of individuals whose hearts are so hard, and whose lives are so hostile to Christ, they are storing up wrath against themselves (Romans 2:5). The gospel counsel is this: flee from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10). The gospel exhortation is this: Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish (Psalms 2:12). The message of Matthew’s gospel is this: do not let Jesus look upon you in holy anger. The anger of Jesus is reversed when His disciples judge righteously, support the work of gospel ministry, honor the Father’s house as a house of prayer and worship, show mercy, and have compassion on others, making a difference.