What Religion Did to Jesus & Whimsical Wednesday

religion jesus
I’ve been reading the Gospel accounts of the Easter story. I find it so interesting to think of each author’s writing slant as the Holy Spirit whispered words to their hearts to be scribbled down. Matthew, the tax collector, certainly provided details. Mark was a little more of a straight-forward kind of guy. With Luke’s medical background, his perspective is unique from the other three. And John gives an eyewitness account of the love of Christ in action.

But this season as I’ve been reading, while I’ve always read the terms “scribes and Pharisees” and “religious leaders of the day” associated with the crucifixion, one reflective line of thinking has seemed to permeate my mind.

There is no doubt sin is what nailed Jesus to the cross.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:8

Yes, God sent his son to this world to pay the price for our sin. John 3:16

But the thought that continues to twist and turn about in my mind is this:

Those who carried out the act of killing Jesus weren’t the typical murderers of the day.

Those who boldly insisted, indeed, paid for Jesus to be crucified- they were not thieves who pretended to be homeless. They didn’t come from the lower levels of economic society nor were they uneducated or unemployed. Any labels of a negative sort would have long been stripped from their shoulders as they proudly walked the streets.

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. Matthew 6:5

The crucifixion of Jesus, King of the Jews, resulted from the position of those in charge of religious affairs. The very people who should have known that Jesus was indeed the Son of God- those who worshiped in the temple and had a very religious family upbringing. The scholars and temple big wigs and the ones who had every law memorized- they were the ones who brought Jesus to the attention of Roman officials via their confidante, Judas. They were the ones who would not stop shouting to Pilate, “Crucify him!”

And all the while they felt they were doing the right thing. They strongly believed in their pious and pompous acts of upholding the law. They were so focused on shooting their religious arrows that they completely missed the target- the coming of the Messiah. He stood in their presence and they hated him to the point of pushing for his death.

Pride can hide behind many masks; the one that frightens me the most is religion.

If it were so easy for the religious leaders of Jesus’ day to prefer their lawful duties over the love of God, how can I possibly think that I’m exempt from the same trap?

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 17:17

For more food for thought, read the Easter account in each of the Gospels:

Matt. 28:1-20

Mark 16:1-20

Luke 24:1-29

John 20:1-21:25

Which mask of pride is prominent to you? I’d love to read your comments today!

new whimsical wed

Bloggers, Whimsical Wednesday is here and it’s time for our weekly link-up party of 100% Christian encouragement!! Thanks for linking up each week and I look forward to checking out your posts!

Rachel



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7 Comments

  1. I love this perspective Rachel. It causes me to think about my own actions and what I represent on a daily basis. Would I also join in or could I be strong enough to know it was the Messiah? Great post my friend.

  2. You know, Rachel, I have often thought what it would be like if Jesus walked the earth today. Who would be drawn to Him? Who would He upset and anger? Who would end up killing Him? Sometimes I think we would be very surprised at how He would act, whom He would talk to, whom He would praise, and whom He would criticize.

    A couple of years ago, I heard a sermon series on “Why Jesus Hates Religion.” There were many powerful lessons I learned. And the one that sticks with me the most is that Jesus cannot abide the *trappings* of religion – He is looking for sincere hearts of faith.

    May I not be among those who speak one thing but do another.

    GOD BLESS!

    1. I wonder if I would be strong enough to hold up against the crowd and not join in the jeering. Whether my soul would be true to him or I would blindly follow the opposite way. That pushes me to draw closer to Him every day, in every way.

  3. We also have to remember that those in ‘religious authority’ during Jesus’ time were not in their rightful place. Most leaders of the religious authority were Roman appointed…basically the state took over religion. Caiaphis should not have been high priest according to the law of scripture. It should have been John the Baptist, a Levite. But the Roman government usurped that role and appointed men into religious roles that we’re not from the true priestly line of the Levites.they were from an Edomite line (like Herod). That’s why Jesus went to John the Baptist in the wilderness to receive his anointing….Jesus fulfilled scripture perfectly according to God’s Torah (law/instructions). It wasn’t the Jews who were ‘bad’, it was those mixing it with a political power agenda. Many righteous Jews did in fact recognize their Messiah as the true Passover Lamb…..to believe it was those following Gods Law (Jews) who persecuted Jesus would be misleading….possibly even antisemitic. …it was an ugly combo of religion, power and politics….a common thread throughout history.
    Jesus never renounced His Jewishness or Gods Law, He died on Passover and rose on the Feast of First Fruits ….fulfilling God’s prophetic Word perfectly. 🙂 Halleluyah

  4. I love reading scriptures with certain new perspectives in mind–like you’ve done by noticing the personalities of the authors, Rachel. Whenever I do something like you’ve done while reading, it makes the readings seem brand new, even though I’ve read them over and over. Thanks for hosting!

  5. Excellent words to ponder as we approach this Holy season! Something that struck me while reading this today was the idea that the religious leaders who handed Jesus over to Pilate…. were they guided by God’s prompting to do just what they did. Crucify our Lord for the cleansing of all sins – the very plan God had intended when He allowed Himself into the world, born of a virgin? I never like to think things were left up to chance, God is/was/and always will be in control…. how can we not consider that this action was part of the plan from the beginning?

    Just my thoughts.

  6. My mask of pride is believing that because I am Christian my ways are always best. However, it is easy to get caught in this trap because we are using our religion as our armor when approaching a situation. Putting up this shield does not mean we are right. Instead of hiding behind what we believe we need to share God’s Word to bring light to those around us rather than to righteously push our beliefs at others. Thank you for the reflection today. This is a post I will need to ponder further to understand and to have God reveal for me what I need to come clean with in my own life. Have a blessed day!

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