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Tag Archives: Chief Priests

Emails to God – Hard Hearts (Matthew 28:11-15)

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Dear God, the idea of one person’s word against the other is interesting here. Assuming that verses 12 and 13 are true (and I do), then at what point did the chief priests not stop in their tracks and ask, “Oh my. Did we kill the Messiah?”

I think a hard heart is one of the hardest things to avoid for any human. We get so wrapped up in our agenda and in self-preservation that we can miss the basic facts. I can see instances in my work where I continually have to remind myself to step back and look at the facts rather than try to make the facts fit my own agenda (like the chief priests did here).

I am a Rotarian, and every week we recite the “Four-Way Test”:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it bring good will and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Father, there is a particular conflict in my life right now, and I end up asking these questions of myself a lot as I go through this process. I don’t want to lose sight of truth in the midst of the struggle. I don’t want to be so bent on my own agenda that I can’t live within the confines of these four questions. So far, I am at peace that I’ve been able to do this. I pray that you will help me and all who are involved in this struggle with me to be able to do the same.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Matthew

 

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Emails to God – Public Humiliation (Matthew 21:23-27)

23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Dear God, what should they have done? I’m looking at the chief priests and elders here and wondering, given their misgivings and concerns about Jesus, what should they have done? I think in an ideal world they should have gone and asked to speak with Jesus privately. Three or four of them meeting with Jesus and two or three disciples. They should have sat down and asked their questions. They should have said, “Help us understand.” Jesus would have answered in extraordinary ways and then the hardness of their hearts would have determined what they did from there. I would think that at that point, if they rejected Jesus, they could have kept him from entering the Temple as a heretic. But instead they impulsively came up with their questions and tried to publicly shame him and embarrass him. Of course, that didn’t work because he was, indeed, you and he was there by your authority (to answer their question in verse 23).

One of the things that is important for me to remember is that I don’t have to have people think I am the smartest person in the room. If I want truth then I can often seek truth quietly and behind the scenes. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but I think that, in the interest of me glorifying you, I should do it when I can.

Father, the chief priests and elders had an agenda that was of their own making. It was not of you to try to discredit Jesus. It was of them. So I ask that you would be my motivation and guide my actions through whatever challenges lie in front of me. I want to point the world to you and not to me. I want to decrease as you increase. I want to live in your peace and embrace you wholly.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Matthew

 

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