Tuesday – March 1, 2016
Day 21 – John 11:45-57
Focus: Vs. 53
“53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.”
In the 1998 movie Enemy of the State we see the story of a man (played by Will Smith) become the subject of massive persecution at the hands of evil people in the government trying to cover up a crime. He’s just an average lawyer with a family and a happy life until he meets with an old friend for a moment and receives a computer disk, unbeknownst to him, with evidence that could convict the evil people of what they have done. Robert Clayton Dean, that simple lawyer, fast becomes an enemy of the state and must do all he can just to survive.
This is the point we’ve arrived at in the story of Jesus – he’s too dangerous to those in leadership amongst the Jews. They’ve let it go on long enough and now it’s time to get rid of Him. He had just raised Lazarus from the dead and the people were really talking about Him. So it comes to a head in verse 48, “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” There it was – staring them in the face. These men were walking in darkness and the light scared them. They were afraid of losing what little they had so they made a decision to take Jesus out. He had to go. They chose their own necks over the very God who had created them. This may be the depths of humanity’s sin right here.
The Jewish leaders could only see what was right in front of them. The life they had was all they knew and, ultimately, it was all they believed in. Their theology said one thing but their actions said another. What was it that kept them from accepting Jesus? It was the pride of their own hearts and a refusal to step out into the light long enough to see the Truth that the very object of their supposed worship was standing there right in front of them. They had come to worship the message rather than the God who sent the message; they had come to worship the creation rather than the Creator.
Here’s the crazy part of all this: this is what needed to happen. The Jewish Leaders thought they were saving their own lives and the meager existence of their nation but God was using their unbelief to bring about the sacrifice necessary to make it possible to save all of humanity. Their plotting for the death of Jesus turns out to be the means of God’s greatest gift to Mankind. It takes me back to Genesis 50 where Joseph is confronting his brothers who had faked his death and sold him into slavery so many years before. They are quaking in their boots as they kneel before the brother, whom they had wronged, who now has the power to end them. What does he say? What does he do? He says, in verse 19, “19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” What man means for evil, God means for good. He did it again. Jesus becomes the sacrifice through which many people should be kept alive. They will not perish but have everlasting life.
Watch out, Jesus is dangerous. He’s as big a threat today as He ever was. You can cower in the darkness and fear Him or you can step out into the light and embrace Him. Just know that He’s looking to change you and He will, if you follow Him – if you’re willing to live in the Light.
Prayer Focus: Dear Jesus, thank you for the Cross. You are the greatest gift I have ever received. Come and change my heart so that I may follow you with all I am. Amen.