The Issue Behind the Issue…

Some things to think about in the weeks when we remember the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross…

Dealing with this guy who claims to be the Son of God – Cries of Blasphemy grew from opposition to feverish opposition and a plan to grab Jesus and put Him to death.

  1. John 9: 13 – 25The fall out among the Pharisees of the healing of the man born blind.Their questioning, doubts and dismissal of Jesus as the Son of God – largely because He healed the man on the Sabbath.
  • Verse 16 – This man is not from God because He does not keep the Sabbath. Jesus broke the oral tradition that had grown up around the Law. Let’s call this one of the Pharisees ‘talking points’ for opposing Jesus.
  • Verse 22 – To be put out of the synagogue was to be excommunicated.
  • Verse 25 – Whether He is a sinner I do not know…

2.  John 10: 24 – 39 – After the Feast of Dedication

  • If you are the Christ tell us plainly…
  • Verse 25 – Jesus reminded the Jewish leaders of His words and works. He was the Messiah and He said so (John 4:25,26 – the woman at the well and John 9: 35-37 – story we were just looking at).
  • I and the Father are One.
  • Verse 31 – The Jews picked up stones to stone Him.
  • Verse 32-33 – the Jews revealed the reason for their opposition to Jesus – He claimed a unique unity with the Father, a unity that clearly indicated that He was God.   Let’s again call this talking points for the Pharisees.
  • For blasphemy for you being a man make yourself out to be God.
  • Verse 34, 35 – In the OT the judges were called gods. Jesus’ argument was that if the name had been applied to mere men and not considered blasphemy, why should it not be applied to himself who was the Son of God? 
  • Verse 38 – Jesus wanted the Jewish leaders to at least consider His miracles as they attested to His deity.
  • I do these things for the Father.

 3.  John 11: 46 – 57 – After the Raising of Lazarus from the dead

  • Verse 48 – the heart of the issue for the Jewish leaders – They were not as upset at Jesus’ supposed blasphemy as they were with losing their positions of authority.
  • Verse 53 – The resurrection of Lazarus was a major factor that led to the plot by the Jewish leaders to kill Jesus. At this point the council decided informally to put Jesus to death.
  • The growth of their hostility step by step – John 5:16; 7:1,32,45; 8:59; plus the two passages above. 
  • And so a plot was hatched, and was about to come to a head. But it had to be at the right moment, not out in public view, because so many people liked and followed Jesus.
  • The issue behind the issue. More talking points, now to the point for a plot to seize and kill Jesus.
  • The front façade of blasphemy claims, with the loss of control and influence. Jesus, the healing of the man who had been blind from birth, the raising of Lazarus from the dead. They were the events that took the Pharisees over the top. They had to do something about this ‘trouble maker’.  They couldn’t risk losing control, losing favor with the Romans, losing authority, their religious system (little kingdom) was being threatened. 

 4.  Takeaways

  • A growing jealousy, a fear of losing control, saying the right things, while inwardly harboring hostility.
  • Claims of blasphemy on the surface, fears of losing religious authority on the inside.
  • God used all of this to bring the crucifixion of Jesus to a head. In order for Jesus to be tried, condemned to death, and crucified, some pretty serious things had to happen. 
  • Don’t try to put God in a box. He is a lot bigger than the box. If you think that by putting God in a box that you can somehow or other control Him, you will be sadly mistaken. Your control will be over the box and not over God.
  • God did not need permission from the Pharisees to do anything. Sadly they had constructed a strict religious system that they held people to. Jesus did not fit into their grid. He had to be eliminated.
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