Friday, July 24, 2015
The Chief Priests
I can't quit thinking about the Chief Priests who accused Jesus. After I did my study on the Spirit of Religion, I went back to re-read the story of Jesus' death in Matthew. Most of the time when I read this story, I think of the Chief Priests as the "bad guys" and overlook the truth. THEY WERE CHIEF PRIESTS! These men were the religious leaders---the top guys, head honchos, the commander-in-chiefs. They had great authority but were also to remind the people of the laws of God. I mean...we're talking bigger than Billy Graham here. (No slam to Billy Graham!)
And these were the guys who wouldn't, couldn't, didn't receive Jesus. They were so caught up in their own laws (because they added to the Law), they couldn't see the Truth right in front of their own eyes. They didn't just reject and kill Jesus, but when Judas came back and tried to give them back the 30 pieces of silver and tell them he'd lied about Jesus, they said, "We're through with you, friend. The state of your soul is really none of our affair." (*Matthew 27:4) REALLY? Can you imagine a preacher saying that to someone who came to confess sin?? These were the Chief Priests---and a man's soul was none of their affair??
You might think they didn't recognize Jesus because they were looking for a different kind of Messiah, or that He would come a different way, or that He would be a political leader. But the Bible is clear why they didn't receive Him: "Pilate knew the chief priests and elders hated Jesus and had delivered Him up because they envied Him." (*Matthew 27:18) They envied Him. Period.
Oh, God! Keep us from envy. Deliver us from a religious spirit which kills. Fill our hearts with love for You and for others. That's why You told us those were the two greatest commandments. You knew that if we did this on our own, our hearts would murder one another. Holy Spirit, take control. Fill us with Yourself. Heal us, heal the Church, heal our land. We can't do this without You!! We desperately need You. And the Chief Priests are proof of what we'll do if we do it in the flesh or have a religious spirit. Please lead us day by day. Thank You for loving us, Jesus! Amen.