Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’



January 26, 2013

“If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” John 11:48

Consider if you were a member of the Great Sanhedrin during the Roman occupation of Israel.  The Romans were the sole superpower of the time.  They were masters of subjecting other countries.  You don’t conquer the known world without learning the skills of maintaining such an empire.

English: Español: Trabajo propio. Máxima exten...

English: Español: Trabajo propio. Máxima extensión del Imperio Romano. Superpuesto en un mapa físico. Deutsch: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Romans conquered a people, they granted some ruling authority to the locals for one primary purpose.  The restlessness of a conquered people could be abated when it appeared that they were ruled and judged by their own people.  That policy of limited self-rule effectively kept the peace in subservient providences for centuries.

That was the situation during the time of Christ.  Both Herod and the Sanhedrin had jobs allowed by the Romans with the primary purpose of keeping the people from rebelling against Roman rule.  If they could not do that, then the Romans would go to “plan B,” which was to get someone else or do it themselves.

Israel was a rebellious brew that always threatened to spill over.  It was the job of the Sanhedrin to keep it under control and they did a very good job for many years.  However, they had a monumental failure.  Their failure to beat down rebellious fervor resulted in exactly what they had feared about Jesus – “the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation”.

They were absolutely right.

In 66 AD, a growing movement got away from these guardians of Roman rule and flourished into open, armed rebellion.  The rebellious Jews were actually able to push the occupying Romans out, for a while. That was until Titus and his armies showed up.

The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.

The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rebellions are a serious problem in empires.  An empire cannot tolerate even one rebellion for fear that it might spread.  The Romans knew that.  Therefore, Roman treatment of the Jewish rebellion in 70 AD was a message to all those other conquered peoples in the empire.

It was brutal.

Israel was never the same after the Romans got done with Jerusalem.  The chief priests and Pharisees concerns about the Romans taking away both their place and their nation had become a reality.  Jerusalem wasn’t even called Jerusalem for 200 years.  The center of Jewish society, the temple, was gone; the sacrificial system was gone; the Sadducees were gone.

How could they have been so absolutely right and so absolutely wrong at the same time?

The Sadducees and the Pharisees were being pragmatic when dealing with Jesus.  They were considering the practical consequences of the nation following after this Carpenter.  They knew what the Romans could do.  They were right about what the Romans would do.  History showed that they were right.  The pragmatic solution was to sacrifice a single life so that the entire society would survive, albeit still in bondage.  That was better than what happened in 70 AD.

Their problem was that they did not consider all the practical consequences regarding Jesus of Nazareth.  They only considered the practical consequences within this physical world.  They did not consider the implications of Jesus being who he claimed to be.

Once you believe Jesus’ claims, you have a game changing variable – GOD.  God is a player in all that we do, whether we acknowledge that or not.  The potential, practical consequences of different actions and inactions in this life are changed when you consider God.  There are clearly impossible consequences in this world.  Yet, the impossible is possible when you remember that God is for you.

“For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

When you consider God in your decisions, you will find that everything gets turned upside down.

The Pharisees tried to save their lives and their nation and ended up losing both.

Jesus told us that, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 6:35)

What was the difference? – GOD

The Pharisees were willing to violate the law and condemn an individual so that they would live in bondage.

Jesus was willing to sacrifice himself to free the nation, “and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” (John 11:51) –

What was the difference?  – GOD

We must always remember to look beyond the practical consequences of this world and realize that none of those consequences stand when God is for us.

With God, there is nothing that is impossible.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for reminding me that nothing is too hard for you.  Thank you for being all powerful and sovereign over everything.  Father, forgive me for those times when I don’t trust you or logic is used to cover a lack of faith.  Lord, teach me to lean on you; instruct me on how to trust you in all things.  Show me the balance between wisdom and blind obedience; between testing you and having trust in you.  Amen

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