Tuesday, December 16, 2008
A friend of mine was sharing this story with me. He and his seven year old daughter were watching the movie “The Passion of the Christ” recently, when she looked at him and ask, “Why did the people want Jesus to die?”
What a great question.
You know in those days Jesus had a following, but that compared to the general population of the time the following was small. I guess you could say that Jesus’ followers were in the minority. In those days a lot of the people were still ignorant of Jesus. They had no idea who he was, and really didn’t know anything about him, other than what they had “heard”. Some people were afraid of him because of his ability to heal. Some were “worried” about their status or their influence, people like the Pharisees. Jesus had made his feeling toward the Pharisees well known. In Mathew chapter 23 he pulls no punches stating in his feelings about the Pharisees with the “seven woes”.
The Pharisees had it made. They were looked up to by the people. They were also looked at as leaders by the people and by the ruling Romans. In that time the Romans did not care what the Israelites did day to day as long as they paid their taxes and honored Caesar and the Roman government. The Romans expected the Pharisees to insure the people stayed perks and favors. In some ways to the Israelites they were treated like royalty and they were honored with gifts. Just the mention of Jesus’ name threatened this lifestyle for them. If the people followed Jesus they would lose their status and power. So Jesus was a threat that had to be done away with. The Pharisees never expected for Jesus and his name to live on through his disciples. The Pharisees were not thinking of Jesus and of the people. They were focused on their own perks, focused on themselves.
We must always be on guard that we are not putting ourselves before Jesus. Remember, we are close to Jesus we are far away from ourselves.