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Jesus in the Praetorium April 09, 2014

Posted by preacherwin in Devotions, Devotions on the Gospels.
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“Then the governor’s soldiers took jurisdiction over him and brought him to the Praetorium where the whole Cohort was gathered.”

(Matthew 27:27)

 

“But the soldiers led him inside of the courtyard, that is the Praetorium, and they gathered the whole Cohort together.”

(Mark 15:16)

 

What strikes me about this passage is the number of soldiers present. A Cohort is a tenth of a Legion in Roman terms, which marks the number here at about 500 soldiers. This is the same term that is applied to the band of soldiers that Judas acquired from the priests to arrest Jesus, though those soldiers were most likely part of the Hebrew Temple Guard while these are Romans. One may speculate as to why so many soldiers needed to be present at the flogging of a single man. As Jesus and Pilate had already had a discussion about where Jesus’ Kingdom resided, perhaps Pilate was trying to show Jesus his own earthly kingdom or give Jesus a taste of the Roman kingdom. The number may also have to do with the timing of the event. This is Passover where the city of Jerusalem’s numbers would have swelled greatly. Perhaps he had all the soldiers there so that he could complete his judgment of Jesus. Jesus was being tried as an insurrectionist, so perhaps Pilate wanted to ensure that there would not be any more violence, this time brought on by those supporting Jesus. The answers to these questions we just cannot know on this side of the veil.

There is a significant theological purpose for what happens here, which ought to be noted. This palace or courtyard, known in Roman terminology as a Praetorium, was gentile ground. The Jewish priests had refused to enter these courts for doing so would have made them ritually unclean, and such would have made them ineligible to offer the sacrifices of the Passover that day. But note, in the Old Testament giving of the Passover commands (see Exodus 12), one of the instructions was that the passover lamb was to dwell in the house of those offering the lamb as a sacrifice. Typically this was done for a period of four days, though this was likely not consistently practiced given the prevalence of sellers haunting the streets and temple courts during this time. Nevertheless, here we find Jesus, having spent 4 days in the house of Jerusalem, now entering the house of the gentile — a reminder that the Gospel is not just for the Jewish people, but is for people from far off whom God will bring to himself…Jew and Gentile alike, through faith in Jesus Christ.

Remember, beloved, that there are no accidents in God’s providence and all things happen for a purpose. Jesus entered into this depth of sorrow for you and for me and for all of the elect through history that are trusting in Him as Lord and Savior. He is our Passover Lamb and we find our hope in Him.

Christians on the Sidelines February 26, 2014

Posted by preacherwin in Devotions, Devotions on the Gospels.
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“Then he released Barabbas to them and scourging Jesus, he delivered him over that he should be crucified.”

(Matthew 27:26)

 

“But Pilate, wanting to make the crowd satisfied, released Barabbas to them, and delivered Jesus to be scourged in order that he should be crucified.”

(Mark 15:15)

 

“And Pilate had come to the decision to grant their request, so he released the one whom during the revolt had been thrown into prison for murder, which was whom they requested, and delivered up Jesus to their will.”

(Luke 23:24-25)

 

“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.”

(John 19:1)

 

Many of our English translations will render the beating that Jesus received as a scourging in the Synoptic Gospels and as a flogging in the Gospel of John. This is done to reflect the fact that two different words are being used here for these events. At the same time, the words are synonyms and each one can refer to a whipping, a flogging, or a scourging depending on their context, and, as it was the Roman custom to scourge a person before crucifixion to weaken him, this is the word that it seems sensible to choose.

A scourge is a whip with multiple strands coming forth from the handle and often would have little hooks or pieces of metal and stone woven into the ends for the purpose of tearing out hunks of flesh with each beating. In ancient times, these whips with metal ends were figuratively called “scorpions” respecting the amount of pain that they brought to the recipients of the beating. Indeed, such use adds light to the quote of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, when he said: “my father disciplined you with whips; I will discipline you with scorpions.”

Notice how Luke focuses the attention on the wish of the Jews. Pilate chooses to grant their request, he releases Barabbas, whom they requested, and he delivers Jesus up to their will. Clearly, he is making sure that it is clear that it is the Jewish authorities and the Jewish mob that is figuratively driving the train in this matter. Pilate and Herod are still guilty, but it is the Jewish authorities that are ultimately behind this wicked, wicked event. And thus Pilate seeks to placate the crowd and send Jesus to be crucified.

All through these devotions we have been speaking about peer pressure, mob mentality, and the wicked politics that happen to be taking place here at the prompting of the enemy. But let me again remind you of how often we fall prey to not doing the right thing due to the fear of men. How often we make a choice based on human standards rather than divine ones. How often we are guilty, like this crowd, of following along and not risking doing what is right and true and just. Can you imagine how different our communities would be were we to do what is right and true, not fearing the pressure of the wicked, and seek justice…always. We would transform the culture. We often pray for revival and transformation in the culture, but beloved, it will not come if we satisfy ourselves sitting on the sidelines.

Blood on Their Hands February 24, 2014

Posted by preacherwin in Devotions, Devotions on the Gospels.
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“And the people replied, saying, ‘His blood is on us and on our children!’”

(Matthew 27:25)

 

If ever a people did not understand the eternal ramifications of a statement, here is a prime illustration. How foolish, how wicked, how hateful, how grievous a statement. Having been whipped into a frenzy by the chief priests, these people could say no other thing — they wanted to see Jesus die. How the enemy, the accuser of the brethren, Satan, must have rejoiced at these words, feeling as if over 4,000 years of planning and scheming had finally come to a head and victory was within his grasp. Here are the people of a nation that God had set his blessings on, had given his law, and had given promises of blessing, turning away from all revealed truth and putting to death the greatest gift of mercy handed down by God to men. God’s chosen nation had turned apostate, led by a wicked cadre of priests, and sought to put to death the Prince of Peace — even rejoicing in the prospect of having his blood on their own hands for all of eternity.

Yet, God has always kept a people for himself — a faithful remnant. This remnant we will see as our Lord hangs upon the cross, this remnant is scattered throughout the Holy Land in homes and small gatherings, aching over the wickedness being perpetrated, and this remnant will carefully gather Jesus’ body and place it with dignity into a tomb. And this remnant would see our Lord resurrected. Even later, before God used the Romans to enter Jerusalem and tear it to the ground, God delivered his remnant from that wicked city and set them on a missionary journey throughout the world to tell of the good news that God offers reconciliation between himself and men through his Son, Jesus. And if you who are reading this are trusting in Jesus as your Lord and as your Savior, then you, too, are part of this remnant that God has faithfully preserved through the generations.

In the midst of what he must have considered his greatest triumph, Satan was ultimately destroyed, for the Lord of Life could not remain in death, such is the way of truth. And though we stand at a point in history somewhere between the first and second comings, we stand in the assurance that Satan will never steal this remnant out of our Lord’s hands. We are held secure. But as ones who are held secure, why do we so often act so timid when speaking of Christ to others? Why do we often make so little of him who did so much for us? Loved ones, do not despair, Christ sits enthroned, the worst Satan can do is to steal your flesh, but what is that when God preserves your soul?

“Fear not, little flock, it is the good pleasure of your Father to give you the kingdom.”

(Luke 12:32)

Washing Hands February 21, 2014

Posted by preacherwin in Devotions, Devotions on the Gospels.
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“But when Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing but it was rather becoming an uproar, he took hold of water and washed his hands against the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this one’s blood; see to it yourself.’”

(Matthew 27:24)

 

As I write this, I am grieved by the events that are going on in the nation of Ukraine, where the pro-western protestors and the pro-eastern government have been clashing. Apart from the fact that Ukraine has a special place in my heart, the violence that is taking place there reminds me of the nature of this crowd here in these last hours before our Lord’s crucifixion. The reality is that one does not ever successfully reason or negotiate with a mob — it just does not happen. People become committed to their outcome and their outcome alone and will accept nothing less and no compromise will be given. And it is exactly that principle that the priests who have been inciting this crowd are banking on. Essentially, they are using the people to force Pilate’s hand and Pilate knows it as well.

Pilate has lost and you an almost see the anger in his body language. He thrusts his hands into water and forcefully washes them “against” the people. Literally, the text reads that Pilate “grasps water” with the implication that the grasping was fairly violent. He is mad and he is frustrated and is saying, “enough!” And from that point on, the idea of washing one’s hands from the blood of another has entered into the west’s figures of speech.

It is of course, not that Pilate invented the idiom, the Jewish people would regularly ritually wash their hands to purify them from defilement and even guilt (see Deuteronomy 21:6 and Psalm 26:6). Even so, whether Pilate is mocking the Jewish practice or if he is using it to communicate with an idea with more force, the once rather obscure Jewish practice is no longer obscure or without specific meaning in the Christianized world. For this Pilate will always be remembered.

Yet, much like Lady Macbeth, Pilate must realize that a symbolic gesture cannot remove the guilt of another man’s blood. And wash as he may, Pilate had and rejected the opportunity to see justice done and have Jesus exonerated. Nevertheless, that also was not in the Father’s design for his own Son. Jesus’ suffering and humiliation must be made complete upon the cross as the prophesies had thus stated…killed at the hands of wicked men for a wicked people to show us grace. For we are the wicked ones for whom Jesus endured the cross. We are the ones standing with Pilate and the priests in our guilt and we are the ones who have tried to wash the blood from our own hands by our own works and found ourselves woefully wanting.

Loved ones, never lose sight of that great truth. We stand guilty. And, if we trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, that same Jesus who died in our place will wash the blood of guilt from our hands with his own precious blood. What a wonderful gift of grace that came out of this wicked, wicked event played out in Jerusalem all of those years ago. Loved ones, will you turn to Christ? Will you live for him? If he gave all this for you, how ungrateful we are when we do not return our all to him. Do not seek to wash your hands as Pilate has done; it will offer you no eternal solution to the problem of your soul.

Injustice Done February 18, 2014

Posted by preacherwin in Devotions, Devotions on the Gospels.
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“But he said, ‘What evil has he done?’ But they screamed with more intensity, saying, “He should be crucified!’”

(Matthew 27:23)

 

“Pilate said to them, ‘What evil has he done?’ But they screamed with more intensity, saying, ‘Crucify him!’”

(Mark 15:14)

 

“And for the third time he said to them, ‘What evil has this man done? I find no grounds in him for death, therefore after punishing him I will release him.’ But they pressed him with loud voices demanding that he be crucified. And their voices prevailed.”

(Luke 23:22-23)

 

Luke has an interesting way of relating what is taking place. The language he uses is in essence military and the picture that is being portrayed is that of a battle where the voices of the people have gone to war against Jesus and even against Pilate. Pilate raises his voice in opposition, appealing to the principle of justice. The people raise their voices and press him with them, almost like an army pushing back in hand to hand combat, and their murderous cries push back against Pilate, forcing him into submission.

Pilate is no hero and his motivations to appeal to justice are anything but noble. But like wisdom crying out in the streets in Proverbs, so too is Justice crying out in the streets of Jerusalem — and like their choosing to ignore Wisdom, they also choose to ignore Justice — one of those things that their God demands of them. Of course, like Pilate, when it comes to the pressure that others place upon us, how often we too ignore justice.

And here, the greatest of injustices is being done. He who had no sin is being condemned for the sins of the wicked…not just the wicked in his own day all of those years ago…but the wicked through the ages — your wickedness and mine as well. And he will go to the cross to bear the punishment for our sins. That is injustice, though a blessed injustice it is. Because of this injustice that is being done, in God’s design, we are given life and hope and reconciliation with God. What could be more blessed than that, yet it ought to cause our heart to grieve to see our Lord undergo this for us. May we indeed lay down our lives for him who first laid his life down for us.

Hills to Die On February 07, 2014

Posted by preacherwin in Devotions, Devotions on the Gospels.
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“Pilate said to them, ‘Then what am I to do with Jesus whom is called Christ?’ And they all said, ‘He shall be crucified!’”

(Matthew 27:22)

 

“And then Pilate again asked them saying, ‘What then do you wish for me to do with the one called King of the Jews?’ But they again shouted angrily: ‘Crucify him!’”

(Mark 15:12-13)

 

“Yet again Pilate called out to them, wishing to release Jesus. But they were shouting, saying: “Crucify! Crucify Him!’”

(Luke 23:20-21)

 

Perhaps we have simply heard these words too many times that we often miss the sheer horror of what is taking place. Here is an angry crowd — a mob really — crying out for the death of an innocent man. Luke describes them as shouting, Mark uses the term kra/zw (kradzo), which means to shout angrily or vehemently with ill intent. Even the repetition that Luke is recording just drives home the point even further about this angry mob. These people are out for blood and there is no way that Pilate does not see that as well. At this stage, justice is giving way to preserving control of the situation.

We do find a peek into the mindset of Pilate in these verses, though. Luke records that Pilate was intentionally seeking to find a way to release Jesus. What we will find in the verses that follow is that Pilate even goes as far as to protest Jesus’ innocence — not something we might expect from a Roman official, but indeed Pilate is no dummy nor is he a puppet of the Jews as some have portrayed him. He recognizes the innocence of Jesus, his wife has already warned him not to have anything to do with this man, and Pilate also realizes that most of this is taking place because of the jealousy of the Jewish officials. Yet, he is being pressed hard.

It strikes me as interesting that we often falter when it comes to such pressures as well. True, most of us don’t have to face tribunals like this, but how often we falter when pressed from various sides and sacrifice truth, justice, and righteousness, for an “out” from whatever it is that we happen to be facing. We compromise and what we fail to remember is that one compromise always begets another until we find ourselves losing the battle for which we once hoped to stand.

Beloved, we are fallen and frail and apart from the work of God in us there is nothing good that can come from us. Yet, let us find hills that we are willing to die on and let us make those hills Truth, Justice, and Righteousness. Let that hill to die on be the call of Christ for he indeed commands us to take up our cross and follow him.

Let Christ Take His Cross…Will We Also Take Up Ours? February 06, 2014

Posted by preacherwin in Devotions, Devotions on the Gospels.
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“But the chief priests and the elders won over the crowd in order that they might demand Barabbas and destroy Jesus. And replying, the governor said to them, ‘Which do you want of the two that I might release him?’ And they said, ‘Barabbas!’”

(Matthew 27:20-21)

 

“But the chief priests incited the crowd so that he should rather release Barabbas to them.”

(Mark 15:11)

 

“And they all cried out in unison, saying, ‘Lift this man up, release to us Barabbas!’, who was a person who had been thrown into prison for murder during a revolt he was involved with in the city.”

(Luke 23:18-19)

 

“Thus they shouted again, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ But Barabbas was a revolutionary.”

(John 18:40)

 

The details given here are astounding. Matthew, for example, speaks of how the chief priests and elders, the leadership of Israel, are working the crowd, inciting them to cry out for this Barabbas and the crowds are shouting to Pilate — demanding that he release Barabbas. I can only imagine just how tense this situation was becoming. Everyone is guilty, everyone is involved, not one stands free from the charge of placing Jesus on the cross.

Barabbas here is described to us as having been involved with a revolt in the city. This we have already discussed. Many of our Bibles will translate John’s description of Barabbas as “robber” just as they translate the description of the two men crucified to the right and left of our Lord (Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27). The reason for this translation is because the term that is used to describe these is lhˆsth/ß (leistes), which can mean a bandit or a highwayman, but it also can refer to one who is an insurrectionist, hence my choice above: “revolutionary.”

A wonderful piece of irony, though, can be found as we look at Luke’s account here. Most of our Bibles will render the statement of the people as, “Take this man away, release Barabbas to us.” And while that is a perfectly legitimate translation, the Greek word, ai¡rw (airo), used here can also mean “to lift” or “to take up.” It is the word that is often used of Jesus’ statement to “take up your cross and follow me” (Luke 9:23). In their very language we find a foreshadowing that Jesus indeed will be taking up his cross and leading to the hill of Golgotha.

And indeed, that is where he leads us as well. He paid our debt for us; he died our death in our place, yet in calling us to take up our crosses as well, we are called to die to the things of this world and live to Christ. The echoes of the crowd, I am sure, rang in our Lord’s ears, but should we not also expect to hear the angry words of the world around us ringing in our own when we stand for Truth…when we labor to change the culture around us? The cross is not a casual thing that we are called to carry as some people use the phrase, “take up your cross” or “it is a cross to bear…” The cross is an implement of torture and death — an implement that we are compelled to take up freely and willingly — and thankfully. We stand guilty right along with the Romans and the Jews at this juncture — but there is a promise of eternal life given to those who repent and turn to Christ in faith. Will you not do just that? Will you not also risk rejection and share that with others? It is good news to those who believe — the very best news of all.

Pilate’s Wife February 04, 2014

Posted by preacherwin in Devotions, Devotions on the Gospels.
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“And while he was sitting in the judgment seat his wife sent to him, saying, ‘You do nothing to that righteous one for I have suffered greatly today as a result of a dream about him.’”

(Matthew 27:19)

 

Not only is Matthew the only Gospel writer to record this warning from Pilate’s wife, he is the only Gospel writer to record God speaking through dreams at all, though in every other account, the dreams that Matthew records are those that take place as part of the birth narrative. In fact, in the Gospel narrative, the dreams are nearly all warnings about the attacks from a wicked king (Herod); here this dream stands as a warning against harming a righteous king. In each of the birth narrative dreams, the dream is also designed to protect Jesus from harm; so too, this dream is designed to protect Jesus from harm once again — or at least to serve as one additional warning so that Pilate, Herod, and the wicked priests around him would stand without excuse for the evil that they were doing.

Some medieval theologians suggested that the dream to Pilate’s wife was sent by Satan to thwart the design of God to sacrifice his Son, but that does not seem fitting either with the way that Matthew has been recording dreams and it seems to give Satan too much insight into the design of God. Satan’s aim is to see Jesus dead — his plan throughout history was one designed to destroy the promised seed of Eve. For him to seek to stop the execution would be for him to realize and comprehend the plan of God which is not likely. He saw this death as his victory even though it would become his eternal defeat.

Nevertheless, the warning is given and ignored. We know nothing more of Pilate’s wife. Several apocryphal traditions identify her as Claudia Procula, the granddaughter of Emperor Augustus, and as later becoming a Christian as a result of this dream. But we know nothing of the veracity of these things. The earliest church traditions do not speak of such a thing and Origen, the 3rd century Church Father from Alexandria, was the first to speak of her conversion though it should be noted that Origen is known (along with many of his contemporaries) for his spiritualizing of the Biblical texts.

What we know is that Pilate’s wife was tormented by this dream which motivated her to speak with her husband on the matter. Perhaps even the tormenting was meant as a foretaste of the judgment that was to come for the wicked apart from a savior. We simply do not know and are not given enough information to speculate with confidence. What we can say with confidence is that God’s design is being fulfilled and that those who stand in opposition to him will face judgment not only in this life but eternally. There is no speculation as to this matter.

Friends, if you have not given your life to Christ, I beg you to pray to God for the faith to do so. And, if you are a believer, I pray that you share the good news that you know to be true with others. Pilate’s wife was tormented by this dream over the wickedness her husband was about to commit. Lot is described as tormenting his soul over the wickedness of the people living in Sodom around him (2 Peter 2:7-8). Why is it that our souls are so often content with the eternal punishment awaiting those in our midst? Will not we be held accountable for all those we loved so little as to not share the source of eternal reconciliation, love, and hope with them?

 

 

To God be the Glory…Not to Man January 28, 2014

Posted by preacherwin in Devotions, Devotions on the Gospels.
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“Now, when they were gathered, Pilate said to them, ‘Which would you desire that I should release to you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that it was from jealousy that they delivered him.”

(Matthew 27:17-18)

“And Pilate asked them saying, ‘Do you desire that I should release the King of the Jews?’ For he knew that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had delivered him.”

(Mark 15:9-10)

Again, there is a lot of coverage over this activity and each from a little different angle, yet complimenting one another as they provide a very full picture of the people’s betrayal of Jesus. The point is clear; all involved are guilty — every one. We have discussed the irony of Jesus Barabbas having the same given name as Jesus the Christ and we have discussed the significance of the title: “King of the Jews.” Yet Matthew records Pilate using the word “Christ” of our Lord. So far, we have seen the High Priest using the term as he questioned Jesus, pressing, “Are you the Christ?” but here we find Pilate essentially connecting the term Christ with Jesus, though not as a profession of faith, but simply as a way to harras the Jewish authorities.

Christ is of course the Greek word for Messiah, a Hebrew term that means “the Anointed One.” Many in ancient Israel were called the anointed of God: priests, kings, etc… but in the Old Testament there is also a thread that points to a greater anointed who will redeem the people from oppression. Moses led the people out of slavery to the Egyptians; this messiah needed to be greater than that. Sadly, the people, being focused on the things of this world, saw Rome as that greater enemy while in reality Jesus the Messiah was here to defeat an even greater foe than that — sin and death. The unbelieving priests were so blinded by their jealousy that they could not see the truth written on the wall and sought to destroy this Christ to preserve their own power.

Yet, isn’t that the tactic of the devil through history? Destroy that which could be the Holy One? The trend goes all of the way back to Cain slaying Abel — a prophet of God (Matthew 23:35, Luke 11:51). Yet, in seeking to destroy that which God had anointed, the Devil fell right into God’s design, for to defeat death, the Messiah must die and then be raised from the grave. Thus all of the plans of the enemy would be thwarted just as the enemy felt he had realized his greatest victory. What Satan perceived would be his victory became his utter defeat. Ahh, the grand majesty of God’s sovereign design. And while Satan remains as a menace — a lion roaring in the darkness — he is a defeated foe and has no ultimate power over the elect of God. That, loved ones, is a reality that ought to drive us to worship.

But doesn’t the jealousy of these chief priests hamper us yet today? Or perhaps the kind of jealousy that these priests had? They were jealous of the attention and glory that was being given to Christ. How often the work of Christ is hampered by the egos of people who would rather the glory come to themselves. Sad, isn’t it? Beloved, don’t let this trap befall you in the work you do in Christ’s church and don’t let this trap befall your pastor. We are not building our own kingdoms personally or denominationally; we are building Christ’s kingdom — everything else is secondary.

I love thy kingdom, Lord,

The house of thine abode,

the Church of our blest Redeemer saved

with his own precious blood.

-Timothy Dwight

To God be the Glory…not to Man January 28, 2014

Posted by preacherwin in Devotions, Devotions on the Gospels.
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“Now, when they were gathered, Pilate said to them, ‘Which would you desire that I should release to you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that it was from jealousy that they delivered him.”

(Matthew 27:17-18)

 

“And Pilate asked them saying, ‘Do you desire that I should release the King of the Jews?’ For he knew that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had delivered him.”

(Mark 15:9-10)

 

Again, there is a lot of coverage over this activity and each from a little different angle, yet complimenting one another as they provide a very full picture of the people’s betrayal of Jesus. The point is clear; all involved are guilty — every one. We have discussed the irony of Jesus Barabbas having the same given name as Jesus the Christ and we have discussed the significance of the title: “King of the Jews.” Yet Matthew records Pilate using the word “Christ” of our Lord. So far, we have seen the High Priest using the term as he questioned Jesus, pressing, “Are you the Christ?” but here we find Pilate essentially connecting the term Christ with Jesus, though not as a profession of faith, but simply as a way to harras the Jewish authorities.

Christ is of course the Greek word for Messiah, a Hebrew term that means “the Anointed One.” Many in ancient Israel were called the anointed of God: priests, kings, etc… but in the Old Testament there is also a thread that points to a greater anointed who will redeem the people from oppression. Moses led the people out of slavery to the Egyptians; this messiah needed to be greater than that. Sadly, the people, being focused on the things of this world, saw Rome as that greater enemy while in reality Jesus the Messiah was here to defeat an even greater foe than that — sin and death. The unbelieving priests were so blinded by their jealousy that they could not see the truth written on the wall and sought to destroy this Christ to preserve their own power.

Yet, isn’t that the tactic of the devil through history? Destroy that which could be the Holy One? The trend goes all of the way back to Cain slaying Abel — a prophet of God (Matthew 23:35, Luke 11:51). Yet, in seeking to destroy that which God had anointed, the Devil fell right into God’s design, for to defeat death, the Messiah must die and then be raised from the grave. Thus all of the plans of the enemy would be thwarted just as the enemy felt he had realized his greatest victory. What Satan perceived would be his victory became his utter defeat. Ahh, the grand majesty of God’s sovereign design. And while Satan remains as a menace — a lion roaring in the darkness — he is a defeated foe and has no ultimate power over the elect of God. That, loved ones, is a reality that ought to drive us to worship.

But doesn’t the jealousy of these chief priests hamper us yet today? Or perhaps the kind of jealousy that these priests had? They were jealous of the attention and glory that was being given to Christ. How often the work of Christ is hampered by the egos of people who would rather the glory come to themselves. Sad, isn’t it? Beloved, don’t let this trap befall you in the work you do in Christ’s church and don’t let this trap befall your pastor. We are not building our own kingdoms personally or denominationally; we are building Christ’s kingdom — everything else is secondary.

I love thy kingdom, Lord,

The house of thine abode,

the Church of our blest Redeemer saved

with his own precious blood.

-Timothy Dwight

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