On Sunday Mary and I connected with a young man who grew up in our church. We weren’t so sure about which direction he would go in his relationship with the Lord Jesus, but there he was in the second row of Lakeview Community Church in Cedar Hill with his wife. He decided to journey with Jesus. Hugging this young man in the foyer motivates Mary and me that it’s worth it to keep getting out the message. But then we see some older folks who years ago would respond to biblical truth but now they’re hardening as they age and it crushes me.
Matthew introduced the high priests and scribes in Jerusalem at the beginning of his story. They were the experts who knew exactly where the Messiah would be born but didn’t take a step toward Bethlehem with the wise men to worship Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12). Now as Jesus moves towards Jerusalem He predicts that they will be the ones who will hand him over to the Gentiles.
“As Jesus continued to go up to Jerusalem, on the way He took the twelve disciples aside privately and said to them, ‘The Son of Man will be handed over to the high priests and legal experts. They will condemn Him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles to mock and whip Him and then crucify Him. The third day He will be resurrected.’” (Matthew 20:17-19)
Often the New Testament is accused of being anti-Semitic, but this conclusion fails to examine the evidence. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were Jews and on the Sanhedrin, the ruling Jewish council in Jerusalem. They stood against the verdict pronounced by their High Priest and Scribes. Instead, they agreed with Matthew that He was the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world. On the other hand Matthew doesn’t soft peddle the fact that Jesus was rejected by the majority of the main stream leaders of His people. We will see in the climax of Matthew’s narrative where their indifference and hatred of Jesus led.
LORD, these high priests and legal experts on the Mosaic Law should have told their people to believe in Jesus. Instead they ended up playing the role of the bad characters in the ultimate story. The fact that Jesus knew it was coming assures me when I see increasing hardness. You are still in control of the story, but I grieve for old acquaintances that refused to listen in their twenties who are now entrenched in their older years. Please give Mary and me some “Nicodemuses and Josephs.”
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!
You can also listen to weekly messages from Dave on OnePlace.com.