Pastor Thomas Smith   -  

“And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased.”¬†Matthew 21:15

The religious leaders were more than a little unhappy with Jesus, “they were sore displeased.” They did not at all approve of our Savior. Jesus is so wonderful, one would think it difficult to be displeased with Him. But in fact, many are. Why would anyone be displeased with Jesus? They were displeased because He had criticized their religious practices. In the verses that precede our passage, Jesus had overthrown the tables of the moneychangers and accused them of making the temple a “den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13).

People often are displeased when someone questions their false religion, even if it is Jesus who is the One exposing them. We should always be willing to allow the Lord to show us if our beliefs are wrong, our emphasis is wrong, or if our worship is displeasing to Him. Too many religions are simply following the traditions of men rather than obeying the Words of God. Religion can become ritualistic and formalistic, it can be lukewarm and lifeless.

Christian worship should be spiritual and sincere. These religious leaders were “sore displeased” with the exuberant worship of the people, as they were enthusiastically praising the Lord, “crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David.” Most of us would agree that worship, which is more emotional than spiritual, could be inappropriate. We are to worship God in the Spirit. However, we are emotional creatures. There is nothing that says that worship should be dead and lifeless, more concerned with ritual than being meaningful.

Also, those who were displeased with Jesus did not approve of the fact that He was healing the blind and lame in the temple. This is difficult to comprehend. Why would someone not rejoice that hurting people were being helped? To these people, their religion was paramount. It took precedence over all things, even the needs of people. In addition, the miracles of Jesus threatened their religion because multitudes of people were being attracted to Him. They could not be pleased because of their jealousy. In a sense, they were more concerned with their program than in the Son of God and His purpose, and were therefore “sore displeased.”