: Because they were being exposed as sinners many of the leaders were seeking to silence Jesus.
19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.
The scribes and high priests were offended by Jesus’ parable. They recognised it was directed at them but were afraid to harm Jesus, as they desired, because they were afraid of the people.
There are some clear realities about these men. Firstly, the parable shows that they didn’t accept God’s reign over them, contrary to their carefully designed appearances. Secondly, they rejected God’s messengers to them because they rejected God. Thirdly, they would be happy to kill God’s son with the delusional view that they could then live with full control over their realm. Fourthly, they were under God’s judgement, ultimately, because they reject his son, and he rejects them.
If we explore their attitude from these matters, it is very unflattering. Certainly, they couldn’t be honest with themselves about their attitude to God. Like so many before and since they had fallen for the deception of the Satan in the Garden of Eden when he said that through rebellion against God, they could be like him, knowing good and evil. That is, to make their own decisions without reference to God and have unfettered control over their realm. They were also profoundly hypocritical because they wanted to appear greatly obedient to God but refused to hear him. Foolish is another term to describe them. Jesus’ parable had depicted them as wanting to kill the son and now, to display Jesus insight into them, they make it clear, at least to one another, they want to kill him. Hard hearted describes them because they hardened themselves against this warning parable and showed no hint of repentance in their attitude to Jesus. Proud is another term for them. In the face of Jesus parable, their zeal to kill him was an attempt to save face. They could not bear the thought of Jesus, or anybody else saying they were anything other than the holy men they claimed to be. Finally, cowardly is an apt description. They could not act because of fear of the people.
The list is very damning. They were dishonest, hypocritical, foolish, hard-hearted, proud cowards. Ultimately all this emanated from not accepting the reign of God over their lives.
How different life is for those who heed the call of Christ to come to him; even if we come realising, we are hypocritical, foolish, hard-hearted, proud cowards. Christ holds out mercy based on his saving work. As we entrust our lives to him, we know forgiveness and peace with our God. We learn that God’s reign over us is overwhelmingly good. We are moved to delight in all he reveals to us through his messengers. We can honestly accept the reality of our sin because we find forgiveness in Jesus. There is no need for hypocrisy because the reality of life in Jesus is so wonderful. Christ becomes our wisdom. Our hearts are softened before our great God. We are humbled before his grace and we have no need to save face because Jesus has so perfectly saved us.
Head: We need to understand what motivates hostility to Jesus.
Heart: It is imperative we soften our proud hearts to accept the mercy of Jesus.
Hands: Christians can live with confidence because even if our failures are exposed, we are still forgiven people.
Prayer: Father as we read of these men who rejected Jesus, we can see how we would be if left to our own devices. Thank you that as we rest in Christ, we know such blessing that our lives are transformed. Help us to keep remembering these things. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
A song to listen to: Jesus Paid It All
Living Church – Creek Road