“They did not like Jesus,” says Jonathan, 7. “They hated him. They did not think he was the savior and they wanted to crucify him.”
A lot of Christians fantasize about walking with Jesus during the time of his ministry. Remember the 1993 movie based on the old TV series, The Fugitive? Living on the run makes for an exciting movie, but in real life, it’s a different story.
Have you ever been hated by a group who wanted to kill you? For most of Jesus’ ministry, he lived one step ahead of those who wanted him dead.
In Jerusalem during Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication), Jesus said, “I and my Father are one,” (John 10:30). Realizing this was a claim of deity, the unbelieving Jews picked up stones to throw at him.
Jesus had done many good works before them. He confronted them by asking, “For which of those works do you stone me?” (John 10:32b).
“The Jews answered him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy, and because you, being a man, make yourself God,'” (John 10:33).
Some people say that Jesus never claimed to be God. This confrontation with Jews who had stones in their hands is difficult to interpret other than an outright claim of deity. Jesus never denied the Jews’ interpretation of his claim. However, he did escape their stones. Once again, he was like “The Fugitive” in that he stayed one step ahead of being seized or killed.
“They thought that Jesus was lying about being the Son of God,” says Addison, 5.
C.S. Lewis, the famous Christian novelist, said that Jesus was either a lunatic, a liar or lord. It’s the mad, bad or God argument. This argument refutes those who say Jesus is only a good man or a prophet. If Jesus were only a good man, he would not have claimed to be God. A lunatic or crazy man could make such a claim and so could a liar, but not a good man or prophet.
“They were afraid that the other people would follow Him and the other people would want Jesus to be the King,” says Sammy, 8.
In first century Palestine, the separation between church and state didn’t exist. The priests at the temple in Jerusalem officiated over the religious life of Jews as well as their civil lives as judges and rulers.
The Romans wanted the Jerusalem priesthood to support their occupation of Palestine. This can be seen in the religious rulers’ response to many Jews believing in Jesus after he raised Lazarus from the dead: “If we let him [Jesus] alone like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation,” (John 11:48).
From the perspective of many of Jerusalem’s religious ruling class, Jesus was a troublemaker. He upset the status quo. Imagine the shock and awe Jesus created among religious rulers when he made a whip and drove the money changers and animal merchants out of Jerusalem’s temple (John 2:13-22).
This was not the meek and mild Jesus depicted in children’s storybook Bibles. This Jesus had fire in his eyes and a whip in his hands. We don’t know what Jesus looked like, but remember he worked as a carpenter before there were power tools.
Think about this: As C.S. Lewis so wisely said, Jesus is either a lunatic, a liar or God.
Memorize this truth: John 10:33 previously quoted.
Ask this question: Who is Jesus to you?
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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CAREY KINSOLVING