A Plot To Kill Jesus
(Matthew 26.1-5,14,16; Mark 14.1,2,10,11; John 11.45-53)
1 The Festival of Thin Bread, also called Passover, was near. 2The chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses were looking for a way to get rid of Jesus, because they were afraid of what the people might do. 3Then Satan entered the heart of Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve apostles.
4Judas went to talk with the chief priests and the officers of the temple police about how he could help them arrest Jesus. 5They were very pleased and offered to pay Judas some money. 6He agreed and started looking for a good chance to betray Jesus when the crowds were not around.
There’s more to the Passover plot than Judas’s betrayal for money. The stage is set for us in the description of the others involved. They weren’t simply priests and teachers, they were “chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses”.
Behind these titles were centuries of religious practice, interpretation and reinterpretation of the original download from God to his people through Moses. The end result was a system of practices and beliefs that really had become an oppressive form of legalism.
Christ posed a very real threat to their ordered way of life and there was a danger of things spinning out of their control. Mix in arrogance, corruption, a hunger for power, (and charitably some genuine concern) and you have a crisis.
Although there had been previous threats to this airtight religion, Jesus had performed miracles and developed a large following with a deep personal connection to him. Probably even more alarming to the religious leaders, he seemed to have a way of disarming their entrapments and possessed a depth of knowledge and insight that was beyond theirs.
The religious leaders ruled over a system of faith that had evolved to the point that God himself was being overshadowed by the practice and ceremonies. The widow’s mite (Luke 21:1-4), the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35), loving your enemies (Matthew 5:44), and the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-45) were teachings that upset the hierarchical and legalistic religious system. This system had made people subservient to pious religious leaders and distant from the God that created and loved them. In fact they had no direct access to God except when the priest entered the Holy of Holies on behalf of everyone.
This was about to change. The veil was going to be rent in two!
The Word was made flesh and through Jesus Christ an unobstructed pathway to God and opportunity for a personal relationship was created.
Lord, I invite your Holy Spirit to deepen my relationship with you. Keep me from sewing up the veil that separates me from enjoying your presence in my life. Stop me from substituting legalism for a deep personal relationship with you.