Displeased with Jesus

Conspiracy against Jesus

Even though Jesus came to earth and did good, performed miracles, taught the truth, and eventually sacrificed His life on the cross, there were times when certain people were displeased with Him. There are a few occasions recorded in the gospels in which people were indignant with Jesus over what He permitted and/or what He was doing. Why were these people so upset with Jesus? Could we be guilty of the same attitude today? Let us consider these examples.

The Chief Priests Were Indignant

And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they became indignant and said to Him, ‘Do You hear what these children are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read, “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself”?’” (Matthew 21:14-16).

After Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11), He cleansed the temple (Matthew 21:12-13) and healed the blind and lame who came to Him there (Matthew 21:14). The chief priests and scribes were indignant that Jesus was receiving praise in response to His healing – and likely because of the praise He received upon His arrival in the city. Why were they so upset about this? They set themselves up as the spiritual leaders and guides of the people. Jesus was receiving the honor they desired for themselves and they were not happy about it.

The Disciples Were Indignant

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, ‘Why this waste? For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.’ But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed for Me. For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her’” (Matthew 26:6-13).

Not long before His betrayal, Jesus had been telling His disciples that He would be “handed over for crucifixion” (Matthew 26:2). Prior to this, at the home of Simon the leper in Bethany, a woman came in and anointed Jesus with a very expensive perfume. The disciples were indignant over the apparent waste. They thought the perfume could be put to better use by selling it and giving the money to the poor (Matthew 26:8-9). Most of the disciples may have had sincere motives in thinking this – except for Judas who was selfishly motivated and used to steal from the money box (John 12:6). Jesus said this woman had done “a good deed” and helped “prepare [Him] for burial” (Matthew 26:10, 12), yet the disciples were still upset because they believed they had a “better” plan for this resource.

The Synagogue Official Was Indignant

And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw here, He called her over and said to her, ‘Woman, you are freed from your sickness.’ And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God. But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, ‘There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.’ But the Lord answered him and said, ‘You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?’ As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him” (Luke 13:10-17).

Rather than rejoicing that this woman who was afflicted for almost two decades had been healed, the synagogue official wanted to quickly put an end to what he anticipated would happen following this event – more people coming to Jesus to be healed by Him. He was indignant because Jesus did this on the Sabbath. In his address to the crowd, he told them to come during the other six days of the week and not on the Sabbath day. He acted as though he was defending the Sabbath law that had been given by God (cf. Exodus 20:8-11). Yet in reality, he was defending the man-made rules that the Jews had added to God’s law. Jesus did not violate God’s law, but He did ignore this man-made law that was standing in the way of Him healing this woman. However, the synagogue official was upset because Jesus did not hold to human traditions as being equal with God’s law.

How Might We Be Guilty of This Attitude?

I doubt that any of us would come out and say that we are displeased with Jesus for any reason. However, if we are not careful, we can easily act this way if we adopt the same attitude as these others who were “indignant” with Jesus.

  1. Like the chief priests, if we want followers for ourselves, we will be upset when others follow Jesus first. We must guard against the attitude of Diotrephes who loved “to have the preeminence” (3 John 9, NKJV) or the corrupt elders in the Ephesian church who sought to “draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). Instead, we need to have the attitude of Paul who said, “We do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord” (2 Corinthians 4:5).
  2. Like the disciples, if we want to follow our plan in doing God’s will, we will be upset over the “restrictions” and “limitations” placed upon us in the Scriptures. We must not take liberties that seem right to us; instead, we need to respect Christ’s authority and the limits of His word (Colossians 3:17). Jesus said the kingdom will be open to those who do His Father’s will, not those who merely claim to do things in His name (Matthew 7:21-23).
  3. Like the synagogue official, if we want to bind our opinions upon others, we will be upset when it is pointed out that our opinions are not equal to God’s revealed will. We must be careful not to act like the Pharisees who made their worship “vain” by “teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” (Matthew 15:9). Instead, we simply need to be following what the word of God teaches – and encouraging others to do the same – without adding our opinions to it.

As we look at these examples, we can see that we are to avoid elevating ourselves, our plans, and our opinions. Instead, we need to elevate Christ, His ways, and His word.

This requires us to have humility. If we are willing to submit to Christ, we can be pleasing to Him. If we are not willing to submit to Christ, then He is not going to be pleasing to us.

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