30 April, 2008

Why They Hated Jesus - The Diabolos (Lying) Mind

The Pharisees actually voiced their reasons for killing Jesus. These reasons, as expressed, are bogus. In other words, I don't believe they are their actual reasons, but only their excuses. For example, the Pharisees offered this reason for killing Jesus amongst themselves
Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, what do we? For this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. (John 11:47-48)
The "reasoning" goes something like this.
  • Jesus is undeniably doing miracles.
  • Because of this, ALL men (a bit of hyperbole don't you think) will believe that he is the promised Messiah.
  • This will cause the people to want to revolt against Rome.
  • Rome will quell the rebellion by taking away "our place" and our nation.
There are a number of built-in assumptions in here:
  • Assumption: Jesus was convincing people that he was the Messiah through miracles. More Accurately: As the Gospels show, people seem more interested in the miracles for their own personal benefit than the more important issue of what this all means. The conviction of the people seems much more superficial than what they Pharisees are suggesting.
  • Assumption: This will cause the people to revolt against Rome. More Accurately: Jesus had no intention of leading a revolt against Rome. In fact, when people did start moving in that direction on a few occasions, he put an end to it quickly.
  • Assumption: This will cause the Romans to come in and take away "our place" and our nation. More Accurately: The Pharisees fall into the common trap of man and that is predicting confidently what will happen in the future. There are many possible outcomes based on their hypothetical scenario. Taking a man's life based on such flimsy prognostications is criminal.
It seems to me that this interchange does show the truth as to why they were planning to kill Jesus. The truth comes in the simple phrase "our place." The reason that the Pharisees hated and were going to kill Jesus was that he was taking their place rather than the Romans. Jesus was challenging their teaching, their traditions, their legalistic self-righteousness and their authority to instruct the people. He was supplanting the Pharisees on a daily basis. Their place among the people as leaders was in dire straits as more and more people came to understand the superficial leadership these men were providing.

What is very enlightening and instructive for us is the self-deception that is going on here. We have a bright and shining display of the diabolos mind at work. I honestly believe that these men had convinced themselves of their little story and felt justified in doing what they were doing. If they had only asked themselves a few simple, honest questions as to their motives, they might have averted executing the son of God. The diabolos mind is so strong and deceptive and they had spent years working on the art of self- justification rather than self-examination, they really didn't stand a chance. Herein lies the lesson for us. We each have that same mind. That fact is not in debate. The question is how have we spent our lives: learning to question and challenge the diabolos or looking for ways to justify it? If it is the latter, we will also do what these men did. That too is beyond question.
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. That which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Heb. 6:6,8)
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