30 May 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 26:1-5 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, Passover begins in two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” 3 At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, 4 plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. 5 “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.” (Matthew 26:1–5 NLT)
Jesus’ primary adversaries had been teachers of the law and Pharisees up to this point. As long as Jesus stayed in Galilee and Jericho and the Jordan Valley, the conflict could focus on doctrine and teachings. But now Jesus is in Judea and Jerusalem and it’s Passover Week. Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey to the cheers of crowds. Jesus turned over the tables of money changers and kicked open the stalls of sacrifice sellers in the Temple. Jesus confronted and condemned the religious leaders publicly, in the Temple, warning the people not to trust them. So that’s pretty much it!
Now the teachers of religious law, the Pharisees, and the leading priests and elders are in agreement. Jesus has crossed the line and there’s no going back. He’s been mostly an irritation for three years, but now he is a threat that can no longer be tolerated. So the moral and spiritual leaders of the nation met in a secret, illegal meeting at the high priest’s house to plot how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. If you ever wondered how far religious people (the good guys?) will go to suppress the truth, to maintain their grip on power, to preserve their traditions and system, this is it! They put their moral convictions aside, they violated the laws they supposedly lived to uphold, and they cooperated with a corrupt political regime, all because of greed and fear, to try and keep their power, position, and privilege! Imagine!
Friends, before we get too “righteous” here, we have to examine our own hearts and ask God to show us if we have the seeds of the same attitudes in us. How do we react when we think our rights and privileges, our position and power are threatened? Is there room in our hearts and our world for people who are different from us? Are our values and priorities more like the “leading priests and elders” or more like those of Jesus? (Yesterday’s GraceNotes “Judgment” Matthew 25:31-46)
Father, May we be motivated by love, not hate, and by faith, not fear! May Jesus’ values and priorities become our values and priorities. For the Kingdom’s sake!