The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are foundational to the Christian faith. While this chapter has more to do with the resurrection than the cross there would be no resurrection without the atoning death of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. So, how did this happen?
We know that the coming of the messiah was prophesied and that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies concerning the birth of the Messiah. But, let’s take a look at some of those who seem responsible for His death. First let’s look at the religious leaders, the Sanhedrin, which consisted of the leaders of the Pharisees and other religious sects.
They didn’t like His teaching, His preaching, His healing on the Sabbath, and they especially didn’t like how Jesus made them look bad. Though He was called Rabbi he had no credentials from any other rabbis, no proper authorization, and yet, Jesus called them hypocrites, blind leaders who led the blind, children of Hell, and likened them to, “whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of impurity. In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28).
Jesus made claims to be Lord of the Sabbath, that God was His Father, and that He had authority to teach about God, forgive sins, drive out demons, and judge the world. They considered this to be blasphemy so in Matthew 12 and 16 they asked for signs, and in Matthew 22 they tested Him with questions, and with each, Jesus undermined and challenged their authority with His answers.
Feeling threatened by Jesus as a rival; envious of the crowds that followed Him, and angry that He broke their traditions, the chief priests and the elders of the people conspired to have Him arrested and kill him (Matthew 26:1-5).
They found that this Jesus made them uncomfortable, He upset the status quo, He threatened their understanding, and He could not be who he claimed to be. Getting Him out of the way would get things back to the way they were. They handed Jesus over to be crucified.
But, was it the Jews that killed Jesus? We will continue to look at that over the coming weeks. However, most definitely, it was the resurrection that proved them wrong, that proved his teaching and preaching true.
Jesus had predicted that He would be betrayed into the hands of Men, handed over to be sacrificed (Matthew 17:22 and 26:2). John Stott in his book, The Cross of Christ, said this,
“Jesus was a man who was accredited by God through miracles and anointed by the Spirit to do good and heal. Despite this, He was crucified through the agency of wicked men, though also by God’s purpose according to the scriptures that the Messiah must suffer. Then God reversed the human verdict on Jesus by raising Him from the dead, also according to the scriptures, and as attested by the apostolic eyewitnesses. Next God exalted Him to the place of supreme honor as Lord and Savior. He now possesses full authority both to save those who repent, believe and are baptized in His name, bestowing on them the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Spirit, and to judge those that reject Him.”
Lack of belief, unbelief, puts you outside of the plan and purpose of God, which means that you are not of His Kingdom, you are not being built as living stones, a spiritual House to be a holy priesthood (see 1 Peter 2:5). Either you walk in your belief or you are not a believer… Jesus Christ lives!
He is risen!
- Do you believe that Jesus is risen?
- How does your walk, your life, reflect that?
- What is your next step of faith in believing?
Further Reading: Philippians 2:6-8, Matthew 23:1-36, Matthew 26:1-5, Luke 22:1-6, John 11:17-27, Acts 2:22-24, Acts 3:11-26, Romans 4:25-5:21