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Mark 243 - Stacked Deck

They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together.

Mark 14:53

Change has a life of its own. It almost never happens overnight. It starts out small, and then it starts to grow. Gaining traction. You start to see it here. There. People start to notice it. They start to talk about it. And then, there is a change. A shift. It gets the attention of the people in authority. And when this takes place, you never know what’s going to happen next.

This is exactly where Jesus is. Those in power and authority have been watching Jesus for some time. But now it’s time to do something about him. He’s a threat to the status quo. To their authority. To their lifestyles. To their income. So, they secretly arrest him.

When they arrested Jesus, his hands were bound. He was taken to the courtyard outside the high priest’s house. It was big enough for all the chief priests, elders, and teachers to get together.

It must have been quite a scene. The entire Jewish hierarchy and authority structure against one man. All that manpower, intellectual and religious authority was focused on taking one man down. They all flocked together like so many birds. All jumping up and down. Squawking. Making a racket.

You’ve got to ask yourself the question, why go to all this trouble? After all, this Jesus was only one guy from a little-known village. He had no formal education. He had no official credentials. He had no rich and famous followers. no one in authority had given him their seal of approval. He wasn’t impressive to look at[1].

Yes, he was popular with the crowds, but what did they know? They were poor, had no power or influence. They didn’t know much, so why bother with him?

There had been other guys that had sprung up. Got some attention. Stirred things up for a while. But then, their popularity peaked, and the crowds got smaller. Or they did something stupid, like get the people all riled up against their Roman invaders. And then the government came down on them like a ton of bricks. Squashing them like a bug under the large, heavy, Roman boot.

So, why was this Jesus guy worthy of so much attention? Why pull out all the stops by plotting to arrest him in secret? Why not just arrest him in public and make an example of him? Why send a crowd, in the middle of the night, to tie him up and bring him in when very few people would be around as witnesses?

Jesus wasn’t dangerous. Or was he? He wasn’t directly challenging anyone’s authority. He wasn’t whipping the people up to rebel against the Roman occupational forces or government. He wasn’t telling people to ignore their traditional Jewish laws or leaders.

But Jesus was deeply and profoundly dangerous. He said that everyone had come up short when it came to following God. And that there was nothing that they could do to fix themselves. He said that we needed to believe God. That we were desperately needing his mercy and forgiveness.

And if this was the end, that wouldn’t have been too bad. But he then went on and explained what the solution was. Or rather, who the solution was.

I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.

John 11:25,26

Jesus says that he personally is both resurrection and life. That he’s more important and powerful than anything else in this life. He clearly claims to be God. And this didn’t escape the notice of the leadership.

“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

John 10:33

This is why Jesus was so dangerous. And why Jesus is still so dangerous today. His claim to be God still rings out today. It’s just as relevant and disruptive as it was 2,000 years ago.

He makes this claim in public. And he makes this claim personally to you and me. Our reaction, our response to his claim and call will make all the difference in the world. Both now and for all eternity.

The deck is stacked against us. The evidence is right there in front of us. How will we respond? How will we choose?

[1] Isaiah 53:2


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