New birth

Messages 2003

The Pharisees scheme to get rid of Jesus.

January 24th 2003

Received by H.

Cuenca, Ecuador.

 

Hi:

“Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You murder the prophets and stone the messengers that are sent to you. How often have I longed to gather your children round me like a bird gathering her brood together under her wings—and you would never have it..

Now all you have left is your house—desolate. I tell you that you will never see me again till the day when you cry, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

So said Jesus when he anticipated that the persecution of his person would worsen ever more, and that this would lead almost inevitably to his death. Yes, the fate of the Judean and Israelite prophets often was harsh, and many paid with their lives.

In my last message, I described how Jesus put some Pharisees in a very unpleasant position. This was not the only time that this happened. Even in the Bible, which does not contain all the important events of Jesus’ life, you can find several examples of how Jesus’ wisdom and excellence eclipsed that of his opponents.

It was really incredible how Jesus dominated perfectly any discussion of the Scriptures. For me, there was not the least doubt that he had not only studied the writings of the Jewish prophets thoroughly, but that he had understood them, that they formed part of his being and thinking, and that God had instilled in him an incomparable shrewdness.

Jesus often used the tactics of countering a question with another question, which baited his opponents to pronounce themselves in a way that would be uncomfortable for them, or that destroyed the foundation of their accusation or allegations, or that silenced them. Typical examples of this procedure are the event mentioned yesterday, the discussion over Caesar’s coin, and the occasion when the Sadducees demanded to know his legitimacy as a master.

[H.: Judas refers to Matthew 21:23-27:

Then when he had entered the Temple and was in the act of teaching, the chief priests and Jewish elders came up to him and said, “What authority have you for what you’re doing, and who gave you that authority?”

“I am also going to ask you one question,” Jesus replied to them, “and if you answer it I will tell you what authority I have for what I do. John’s baptism, now, did it come from Heaven or was it purely human?”

At this they began arguing among themselves, “If we say, ‘It came from Heaven’, he will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe in him?’ But if we should say, ‘It was purely human’—well, we are afraid of the people—for all of them consider John was a prophet.”

So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.”

“Then I will not tell you by what authority I do these things!” returned Jesus.]

Many times, certain sectors of the Jewish society tried to win over Jesus and to silence him by means of chicaneries and astute discussions, but without success. Exhausting all legitimate means, they had failed.

They next resorted to less subtle methods. They tried to put an end to Jesus’ career through personal attacks, in the form of insults and slanders. They called him inept, stupid, possessed by demons, that is to say, crazy; an illegitimate son, that is to say, a bastard or mamzer, etc. But even that did not turn out to be effective.

Finally, certain groups that feared for their influence and wanted to put an end to Jesus at any price, decided to kill him. Other Jews, who were not necessarily followers of the Master, but who sympathized with his teachings, or who simply stuck to the principles of morality and decency, warned him on several occasions of the danger and helped him to escape from the hired assassins. This is even depicted in the Bible, but few people pay attention to this clear indication that not all Pharisees were the Master’s staunch opponents, but that a good part of them sympathized with him, or even followed him.

[H.: Judas refers to Luke 13:31

Just then some Pharisees arrived to tell him, “You must get right away from here, for Herod intends to kill you.”]

Next time, my dear friend, we will speak of a parable in this same context, a parable that does not show up in the Bible.

I wish you a day filled with blessings.

Judas of Kerioth

 

© Copyright is asserted in this message by Geoff Cutler 2013