Scandalous Redemption - Musings of a Pharisee
Scandal - a disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance, etc - Dictionary.comThis man is doing some pretty amazing things, like healing the sick and raising the dead. He is preaching the gospel with authority and his meetings are drawing record breaking crowds.
Crowds we have not seen in our lifetime. Both rich and poor, they come to hear him speak. Some are starting to believe that he is the messiah we have long awaited. That this man Jesus could save us, as a people, from Roman Colonization. We've worked very hard over the years studying and striving to be where we are, yet just a few people come to our churches, and that out of compulsion. And yet this man, this carpenter's son, with no formal training or schooling gets the prestige that comes with expounding God's word to the multitude. You know, this man brings out the worst in us - resentment, jealousy, animosity, you name it - where did he come from and who does he think he is?
We've seen this play out before, haven't we? We must resort to our political playbook and somehow besmirch his stellar reputation. We must halt his wave of popularity by sowing doubts in the people's mind as to his sincerity. And we know just how to do it - scandal. But how do we get this man embroiled in scandal? A man we know, has never cheated on his wife, heck he is not even married. A man who is not aloof but shows empathy to all in likeness we have never before seen. A man who has few worldly possessions and earnings, we can hardly get him on taxes. How do we take down this man?
Well, we'll arrest him anyway and subject him to a congressional hearing. Hours of grilling questions will bring something out. After all, He never did deny the allegations that he was equal with God. We'll get him on that one. We will allege that if He is one with God, then surely he wants to overthrow the Roman government. The Roman's will sign his death warrant on that basis. Oh, but we won't just execute him with lethal injection, we must kill his name using the instrument of shame. We will publicly disgrace him by hanging him on a cross. Didn't scripture say "...anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse"? - Deuteronomy 21:23
Look at him now, hanging in shame. He saved others, yet himself he cannot save. If he says he is the son of God, then why doesn't he prove it to us here and now by coming down that tree? His disciples are on the run. His followers can't renounce him fast enough. We've got our dignity back, we've got our congregants back.
But wait ...didn't scripture say that a man born of a virgin will suffer many things to save his people. Didn't scripture show us that the patriarch Joseph's suffering in times past, paved the way for our people to be saved, and shouldn't the messiah's life model the same? Could this be that we've just played into God's plan by crucifying this innocent man based on our jealousy and biases. That through his death, life will come to our people. Did this unbeliever, this Roman centurion standing next to me, just say. "...surely he was the son of God"? - Matthew 27:54. Now its not just our people but gentiles too? Unbeliever's calling him the son of God? uh...oh. But I must confess, no man can do the things this man does unless God be with him. Perhaps, He really is the son of God. Perhaps ...
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