Friday, April 3, 2015
Messiah? A Good Friday Meditation
The Jews had studied and debated for years over the “weeks” in the book of Daniel; to know just exactly when the Messiah would appear, and the time was right.
The Pharisees were looking as well, knowing that the time should be now. Their sect had grown stronger after the slaughter during the Maccabean revolt. They were sticking to teaching and serving God rather than meddling with politics.
The scribes and experts in the Law debated each point of Torah so it would be clear how to properly serve and worship God.
They knew the time was right. It was up to them to correctly lead the simple masses in service to God. Everything had to be perfect so as not to cause God to turn his favor away from the chosen people and to bring Messiah, the strong deliverer. All the hopes for freedom were pinned on deliverance from the horrid Roman oppression. Surely God would deliver his people. The Pharisees looked to following the law; they needed to be seen as the deliverers of their people. It was by their piety that they would please God and bring the delivering Messiah by their own obedience.
But what did they find instead? The ignorant, unclean masses seemed to be lead astray by an un-schooled Jew from the back-water town of Nazareth, with uncouth followers from Galilee. More than once this Jesus made fools of them in front of the crowds, undermining their authority. He seemed to have some miracle working power; but like any so-called healer, would not produce a miracle on demand. He was obviously demon possessed and worst of all, a heretic. He couldn’t even remember to wash his hands! Their whole plan to usher in the age of the Messiah would be ruined and they would face endless torment at the hands of Rome; something would have to be done!
“If we let him go on like this, all men will believe in him and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year said to them, “you know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people…” (John 11:48-50)
But little did they know Jesus would not just be killed for the nation, but for the whole world; ushering in the “new Covenant in His blood”.
And Pilate said “Behold the Man!”
As the crown said “Crucify, Crucify!
And Pilate washed his hands.
And our Lord and Savior said “It is finished!”
Surely our griefs he himself bore, and our sorrows he carried; yet we ourselves esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was pierced through for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well being fell upon him and by his scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him. (Isaiah 53:4-6)