We Want to Get Rid of Jesus

How is that for an attention grabbing title?  Recently, I have been reading John Stott’s seminal work, The Cross of Christ and I hit this section that just really leapt off the page at me.  The context is Stott talking about the first century Jewish people and their priests and how they reacted and responded to Jesus’ ministry:

“So they felt threatened by Jesus.  He undermined their prestige, their hold over the people, their own self-confidence and self-respect, while leaving his intact.  They were “envious” of him, and therefore determined to get rid of him.  It is significant that Matthew recounts two jealous plots to eliminate Jesus, the first by Herod the Great at the beginning of his life and the other by the priests at its end.  Both felt their authority under threat.  So both sought to “destroy” Jesus (Mt 2:13; 27:20 AV). However outwardly respectable the priests’ political and theological arguments may have appeared, it was envy which led them to “hand over” Jesus to Pilate to be destroyed (Mk 15:1, 10).

The same evil passion influences our own contemporary attitudes to Jesus.  He is still, as C. S. Lewis called him, “a transcendental interferer.” We resent his intrusions into our privacy, his demand for our homage, his expectation of our obedience. Why can’t he mind his own business, we ask petulantly, and leave us alone? To which he instantly replies that we are his business and that he will never leave us alone. So we too perceive him as a threatening rival who disturbs our peace, upsets our status quo, undermines our authority and diminishes our self-respect. We too want to get rid of him.”

John Stott, The Cross of Christ. p58

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~ by toddbumgarner on October 18, 2009 7:24 am.

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