READ MATTHEW 26
The Jews held a strong presence in Jerusalem at the time Jesus walked the earth. He in fact was one of them. However, the kind of Messiah the Jews were hoping for, had nothing to do with this man. They were intent on the promise of a worldly king, like David or Solomon, who would establish a kingdom on earth designed exclusively for them.
All the leaders of the Jews were well versed in the scriptures. They read and studied the prophesies of old and were looking forward to a king who would rule over them here on earth. The thought that it might be someone like Jesus was appalling to them. Yet there He was – the supposed King of the Jews – trudging around the countryside, stirring things up, messing with their teachings and causing even some of the staunchest of them to waiver. He was a common man, dressed in homespun cloth, sandals and no place to call home.
Caiphas was the acting high priest of Judaea. His father in law held the title from the time of Quirinius, when the Romans took over rule of the Jews. Though they were under Roman rule, something was causing people to change their allegiance from the ancient teachings. That something was Jesus – a simple, humble man who could heal the blind, deaf, sick and demon possessed. A man who made His bed under the stars, preaching a message of love, faith and hope.
The Jewish leadership of this time was raking in a lot of support from the wealthy. Even the poor were willing to give their last penny to the church. They profited from the selling of animals to be used for sacrifices, by giving the vendors a perfect venue for their wares. In a way, they were like the Roman church during the time of the Reformation – making money off their power and control.
When Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead, He became a true threat to everything they were teaching and believed. Something had to be done to stop this rabble rouser. So from that point on, a plot was hatched to put Jesus to death. Judas was a willing recipient what they were willing to pay. The entire plan was orchestrated by God, but the Jewish aristocracy truly thought they were doing the right thing. They also had some ulterior motives. All the players in this scenario were part of God’s plan for our salvation.
How would we receive Jesus if He returned today? We know His next coming will be heralded by angels. There will be fire and loud trumpets involved – as is written in the Revelations. We know what to expect, but what if He chooses to come as an ordinary guy, just like He did the first time? There have been false Messiah’s – some before and many after Jesus. They all claimed to be the promised Savior. Still there is only One Jesus. There is only One God. There is only One Savior and He already came to accomplish what He was sent to do. He took away the sins of the word, so that we will inherit a place in heaven.