Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Cast of Characters


Good morning Sisters. Yesterday we talked about the single focus that Jesus displayed when it was time to go to Jerusalem to be crucified. He knew the purpose of his life and was ready to give himself up for the world.

Lazarus was a beloved friend of Jesus who died and laid in the grave for 4 days. Jesus purposely waited till the body would start the decaying process before he brought him out of the tomb. On arrival he weeps over his dear friend before raising him from the dead. Scripture tells us in John 11:45-46

The Plot to Kill Jesus

45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. John 11:45-47, 53

Enter Pilate who had been appointed the Roman governor by Emperor Tiberius. He was hated by the Jews for a couple of reasons. Early in his rule he flew the standard (flag for all you non-military kind of gals) of Rome right in Jerusalem. In essence he rubbed it in the faces of the Jewish people that they were an occupied nation. Then Pilate apparently took some of the temple funds and built an aqueduct. Pilate also had no tolerance for any kind of uprising or riots.

Next up we have the religious leaders including Caiaphas the High Priest. Jesus had upset the establishment from the very beginning of his ministry. He walked in without the proper papers! How dare he teach that God was his Father. Who gave him authority to heal on the Sabbath? When he should have been fasting he was feasting and feasting with sinners. How dare he? They were filled with self-righteous indignation toward Jesus. They had had enough and handed him over to Pilate.

Judas is the last in our cast of characters. We learn a few things about Judas in hindsight from the gospel writers. In particular we learn from John that Judas was the treasurer and that he would dip into it on occasion. We also get a glimpse into Judas’ character when Mary of Bethany opens up the alabaster jar and anoints Jesus. He says that Mary did a “beautiful thing” but Judas mockingly scolded both her and Jesus. What a contrast between Judas’ attitude and Mary’s when she blessed Jesus with her ointment. What is in a person’s heart eventually comes out through what he does and says.

Judas hands over (or betrays) Jesus out of greed. Caiaphas and the religious leaders hand Jesus over to Pilate out of envy and Pilate hands Jesus over to the soldiers because he lacked courage who then crucify the Son of God.

They are all guilty…. So true, however nothing that happened to Jesus was done without his permission. That will come tomorrow. Until then I encourage you to read John 11 through the end of the book.

In Christ Alone,

Jill

"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up"

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