Who does God get angry at?

God gets angry at people, and he says who he gets angry at too – it’s those invited into his kingdom who “refused to come,” Matthew 22:3. The Jews of Jesus’ day were invited, for instance, but few responded, verse 14.

They thought the kingdom was already theirs, judging by the question thrown at Jesus in Luke 13:23 – “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” – the “few” being them, of course. But Jesus talks of people who arrive at the gate to God’s kingdom thinking they can just waltz on in, who “will not be able to,” verse 24. Instead, they’re met with a very cold “I don’t know you or where you come from,” and they’re shooed off as “evildoers,” verse 27.

Evildoers? But their credentials are good, surely. They’re “knocking and pleading” to enter the kingdom (verse 25), “We ate and drank with you (Jesus), and you taught in our streets” (verse 26), and in Matthew 7:22, many say, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” But Jesus shoos them away as evildoers too, verse 23.

How can that be? They’re allowing Jesus to teach in their neighbourhood and they’re using his name to do good, but Jesus banishes them. Why? Because there’s only a very narrow door through which people enter the kingdom, explained by Jesus in the next chapter when he offers to go to the home of a Roman soldier to heal his servant but the soldier replies, “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed,” Matthew 8:8, and Jesus’ reply is, “I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith,” verse 10. That narrow door is faith in him (verses 11-12).

Faith in him how, though? Faith that the Father loves Jesus “and has placed everything in his hands,” John 3:35. Whoever believes that, verse 36, “has eternal life.” The person who doesn’t “will not see life, for God’s wrath remains upon him.” The Roman soldier, however, did believe it. Jesus only had to say the word and his servant would be healed. He believed Jesus had that kind of power and authority.

Who does God get angry at, then? Those who “refuse to come” to Jesus for that kind of power over everything in their lives. They rest their hopes instead on knowing Jesus, being favourable to him and listing all the good things they’ve done, but not on the power and authority God has given Jesus over every part of their lives to heal them and bring them into his kingdom whole and blameless. They’re trusting in themselves instead, and that’s what God gets angry at.

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