Totally Misguided

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days awayand the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.” (Matthew 26:1-5)

“The carnal mind always maps out for itself a way in which self can work and become great, but the Lord’s way is quite the reverse.” -Charles H. Spurgeon
Here Jesus reminds His disciples about His impending suffering and death. He often spoke of these as being in the future, yet now He speaks of them as close at hand. Unfortunately, in these verses, we see the religious elite playing a notorious part in these unfolding events. I am reminded of Asaph’s description of the wicked in Psalm 73:

Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. (Psalm 73:6-9)

“If we suffer the good to grow weaker, the evil will surely gather strength and struggle desperately for the mastery over us; and so, mayhap, a painful desolation, and a lamentable disgrace may follow.” -Charles Spurgeon
After Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead the religious leaders were hot on our Lord’s trail to get Him out of their picture–permanently. They hated His popularity. They loathed His ability to do the miraculous which proved His claim of deity. They needed to be rid of their competition. Jesus was a bother. Their hypocritical hearts were hard. Jealous for the accolades and respect of others, they stooped to actions which were anything but praiseworthy. These religious elite loved the praise, adoration, and honor of men, leaving no room on the throne of their hearts for the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. John’s account tells us:

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” (John 11:45-48)

“Pride alienates man from heaven; humility leads to heaven.” -Bridget of Sweden
These Pharisees remained un-awed by the power and majesty of God. They only valued the fear and respect of the people. This appeared to be their greatest concern. How foolish and shortsighted! Somehow, their passion for God had become misguided and they were focused on their own pursuits rather than God’s desires.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (Proverbs 1:7)

Their safety, their honor, their respect, their standing among men, was their chief concern. Seeking God’s glory appeared to be the furthest thing from their minds. And so, they wickedly plotted to kill the Master; nothing less than His blood would bring them satisfaction.

“Men think that glory lies in being exalted over others–Christ … stooped when He conquered.” -Charles Spurgeon
But make no mistake; Jesus was fully aware of what was going to happen to Him. No one took His life. He willingly gave it on our behalf.

Take It to Heart

“God does not honor men and women and their deeds or their books or their organizations. The Father in heaven delights to honor His Son. It is only the Life of the Lord Jesus–His activity, clothed with you and displayed through you–that ultimately will find the approval of God.” (Major Ian Thomas)

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