The Jews at the time of Jesus were under the control of Rome. For most, it was harsh repressive treatment, taxes sent to a hated foreign power. That meant they were ready to rebel. But not all. The Jewish elite were doing very nicely under Rome, thank you. Rome made use of them as judges and bureaucrats under Roman authority. The priests and religious leaders were in this group. They had a very comfortable living and did not want it upset by revolutionaries. The Passover celebrations of the bygone escape from slavery in Egypt were the favoured time for freedom fighters to step up seeking popular support. But Jesus had rejected the temptation to step into that mould from the start of his ministry. The crowd didn’t like it. They were ready for a physical fight and he was not.
The elite were doubly threatened. An earthly commander would upset Rome, and thus their appointments. A heavenly one who forgave sins without payment or even handing over sacrificial livestock made them with their temple scams redundant. The high profile denunciation of the temple traders as thieves in the place intended for prayer and the promotion of access to God without a priest as a go between rubbed it in. Ezekiel’s delivery of redundancy notice on the Jewish priesthood (chapter 31) had gone unheeded.
So, Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem at the head of a crowd stirred opposing reactions. Jewish people wanted him as a general but were to be disillusioned. The Jewish elite were threatened and wanted him dead. There was only one way this could go. Crowd and elite were now of the same mind. Jesus must die. Die he did. But all over? Job done, they had all thought. All over, they thought.
Not so. Both now learnt that the supremely powerful God was also involved and it had only just started! Within 40 years rebels and priests would be exiled or massacred, and the temple razed to its foundations never to be rebuilt.
For God, the job was not quite done. There was now the matter of acceptance of the sacrifice of His own son for the sins of a reckless humanity. That acceptance came with the resurrection of His son as the sign. The price of sin was paid. Now it was “job done”. God dearly loves us even though sinners. This is why He went to such lengths to save us from a judgement of “guilty” with its inevitable death sentence. It is why Jesus is given the name of Saviour.
Where does that leave us? Is our job done? God cannot accept us while ever we cling onto any of our sinful ways. Full repentance is required. We still need to accept Jesus as our own Saviour and renounce past sins. Holding on to “only a little” sin is to “only” fall short. That is to miss out on the pardon. The good news is that God’s offer of eternal life with Him remains open while we still breathe. Our acceptance is how it becomes “job done” for us too! Be assured, God has the last word. Let Him have the next ones too.
Join us this coming Sunday as we continue our reflections around Calvary and the empty Tomb by considering some of the crucial Marks of the Resurrection Life. Our key text will be taken from Romans 8:11 “If the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you, it will quicken your mortal bodies…” but we will also lend some insights from the Early Church as those first Spirit filled Christians lived out the full implications of Christ`s resurrection in their daily lives in community (Acts 2).
We look forward to sharing in fellowship with you in the service and afterwards around the BBQ!.
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