Monday, June 8, 2015

Jesus, the Messiah turns the Enemies Upside Down

The Pharisees examined Jesus.
Then the Pharisees, called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus” (Matthew 12:14, NLT).
At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus” (Mark 3:6). “At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him” (Luke 6:11).

Putting these three Gospel accounts together – Matthew, Mark, Luke – we see that the Pharisees were furious with Jesus. At first these religious leaders had been merely curious about Jesus, but their curiosity turned to hatred. They were “wild with rage” because Jesus had openly confronted their authority and placed himself above them. Jesus had looked them in the eyes, flouted their laws, and exposed the hatred in their hearts to the entire crowd in the synagogue.

These Jewish religious leaders were so jealous of Jesus’ popularity, his miracles, and his authority that they missed who he was (and is) – the God-Messiah for whom they had been waiting. They refused to acknowledge Jesus because they were not willing to give up their treasured positions and power. When Jesus exposed their attitudes, he became their enemy, and they began looking for ways to destroy him. Ironically, they began planning on the Sabbath (context of the verses quoted above) to kill him. Their hatred drove them to plot murder – an act clearly against the law that they themselves defended.

Notice this, the Pharisees “met with the supporters of Herod.” This was unlikely (and unholy) alliance. This group, also called the “Herodians,” was made up of Jews who hoped to restore Herod the Great’s line to the throne, so they usually stood in direct conflict with the Jewish religious leaders. Those minority Jews supporters believed that intermediary rules by the Herods was better than direct Roman rule. (Most Jews, however, especially the Pharisees disapproved the Herods as rulers of Israel because they were originally an Edomite family. Edom was one of Israel ancient enemies.)  But Jesus threatened the authority of both groups – the Pharisees and the Herodians – common enemies suddenly became friend and began working together to rid themselves of this treat. Jesus, a single man, was their greatest treat, even today (In Malaysia, even though Christian’s total percentage is around 10%, the religious and government authorities sees us as “enemies”. They called our evangelism as “Christian’s agenda to apostate the Muslims.” This small minority is a national treat. Just like Jesus).

Think about this: Either Jesus is who he said he is, or he is a fraud. The Pharisees chose the latter. We who follow Jesus can also be seen as threats. When we stand up for truth and love, faith and mercy, compassion and justice, we will be opposed by many who profit from oppression and discrimination. We may even encounter opposition from religious leaders (ever among Christians) who see their grip loosening. Jesus turns the world’s values upside down, but his way is true and right. It is the only path to eternity. Pray to the Lord that you may give your wholehearted commitment to Jesus and his teachings, no matter what consequences arise from your obedience and loyalty. Remember, we follow the Truth and Truth can never be wrong. Amen.


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