The religious leaders only hear what they want to hear.
Luke 22:63 – 71
The guards mock Jesus
63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?’ 65 And they said many other insulting things to him.
Jesus before Pilate and Herod
66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. 67 ‘If you are the Messiah,’ they said, ‘tell us.’
Jesus answered, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68 and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.’
70 They all asked, ‘Are you then the Son of God?’
He replied, ‘You say that I am.’
71 Then they said, ‘Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.’
I was sitting at a party once drinking some lemonade. Many people who know me would know that any soft drink that tastes remotely like lemon is my favourite, and so I often have multiple glasses when I have the chance. One of my friends knew this about me and had been chuckling to herself as I continued to pour myself a fresh glass of glorious lemon flavoured bubbles every two minutes. She very kindly pointed this out to me, afraid that I was going to make myself sick. She was right of course, but I didn’t want to hear it so I kept drinking lemonade. It is safe to say my stomach paid the price for the following 12 hours.
It seems that the religious leaders are guilty of what I like to call selective hearing. Jesus is telling the truth—his character and past actions said as much, yet the officials would not hear his words. They were too scared, too jealous, too threatened to believe him. They were not willing, or perhaps not able, to recognise a king who was not like them—indeed, who was totally unlike them. Jesus represented the greatest power of all, God on Earth. But they thought that was their job!
That overwhelming need for control and power is also a very real problem in our lives today. Sometimes we can find ourselves convicted, caught out in our sin. Yet, instead of facing the problem, we turn Jesus, God’s king, into the villain—because then the guilt and shame is a little easier to bare. Jesus’ death and resurrection completely eliminates the need for that shame. He willingly walked to the cross and suffered and bled upon it so that we could live knowing our sin is forgiven. It is that overwhelming, undeniable love for us that erases our guilt and lifts us up to a new life of hope.
Head: List the motives of the chief priests and the teachers of the law. Which one might be the root cause of their rejection and anger, so you think?
Heart: When are the times when you want to get angry with Jesus, accuse him, or find a reason to get rid of him? Why?
Hands: Write a time in your diary, calendar, organiser … to regularly reflect and pray for a few minutes. Make it about: why Jesus is good; why, specifically, you are tempted to label him as bad; and asking for him to help you bridge that gap in your heart.
We are guilty of blaming you when we sin. Let us turn to you to wash us clean. We thank you for the sacrifice made by your son, so that even when we turn away you will always be waiting to welcome us home.
A song to listen to: In Christ Alone
Maddie Pryde and Geoff Pryde
Living Church – Creek Road