Theme of the Week: Following Christ’s Example
Bible Verse: Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. Mark 3:6
Scripture Reading: Mark 3:1-6
From the moment that Jesus began his public ministry, tension began building between him and the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. With each sermon preached, with each miracle performed, the buzz about Jesus got stronger. People by the thousands from all over were flocking to him.
Jesus had compassion on these people, saying they were “like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34). They were doubly oppressed – under the political thumb of Rome and under the religious thumb of Jerusalem. They had never seen or heard anyone like him before.
On the other hand, the religious elites were growing increasingly worried. They began following Jesus around, listening to what he said and watching what he did. They ended up so alarmed at Jesus they joined with the Herodians to plot his death.
This in itself is extraordinary, because the Pharisees and the Herodians were themselves sworn enemies. The Herodians had been installed by the Romans to rule over Galilee. To the Pharisees, the Herodians were traitors to Israel. But to the Herodians, the Pharisees were in denial by clinging to their old and outdated religious traditions.
And yet out of pure self-interest, they both saw Jesus as a threat to their authority. They were terrified that if he was allowed to stir up the people much longer, the Roman authorities would intervene and ruin everything for everyone. And so, he had to die.
Today, the Pharisees and the Herodians are, of course, long gone, but the conflict between the powers of light and darkness continues. This is spiritual warfare. And as we get closer to the day of Jesus Christ coming again, it is bound to only intensify. More and more people will come to Christ, but the challenge to all things Christian will also increase. We’re seeing that already. And if you think that you’ll somehow be left alone in this spiritual battle, you’re mistaken. If you claim to follow Jesus, then it’s your battle too.
The good news is that because of the cross, we already know who will ultimately win this war. But until then, we dare not let down our guard.
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