Standing in line to visit the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem, a few of us began singing, “O come let us adore Him…” Immediately, a frowny-faced priest in robes and a special hat descended upon us to put a stop to our singing. Huh? No singing praises to Jesus at His birthplace? Why not? The answer was clear and forceful: It was against the rules. I’ll bet Jesus got angry.
Like the time He got angry at the religious authorities who wanted to stop Him from healing a man on the Sabbath. Their attitude was dumbfounding: “We can’t allow God to do any miracles to bless people here; this is a place of worship and a day for honoring God!” Huh? Here’s how Jesus handled it:
Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
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 3:4-5)
If they had answered His question truthfully, it would have revealed how twisted their position was. But they remained silent rather than jeopardize their authority over the flock. In the process, they found themselves working against God.
God’s commands were given to bless, not to hinder us. When we tell our kids not to touch the wood stove, it’s not to hinder their enjoyment, but to bless them with safety. Same thing with God’s commands. When religious authorities use those commands to hinder someone from discovering God’s love and grace, they work against God. Perhaps they do it out of ignorance. Too often they do it to bolster their own authority. Either way, I believe Jesus gets frustrated and angry.