Scripture:The angel said, “He is
not here; he has risen! (Luke 24:6a, NIV)
Luke and John. . . They all tell a story unlike any other in the long history
of story telling. Their Teacher, “Rabboni” in their language of Aramaic,
was the subject of much controversy in the land of Palestine. A carpenter’s
son, from the insignificant village of Nazareth in Galilee, yet so able to
dominate the learned Priests and Teachers of the Judaic law in Jerusalem that
they became reluctant to argue with Jesus.
His discourses were unlike any other; “He teaches
with authority,” they observed. He taught that the Commandments could
be summed up in two: “Love God, and Love your neighbor
as yourself.” He not only associated with the unloved and the unlovely,
but also healed them, and blessed them. Publicans and sinners, lepers and
even the dead - untouchable all - yet he touched them, ate with them, cured
their ailments, forgave their sins, and restored them to their family, and
“Who is this,” the authorities wondered, “that
can forgive sins?”
Naturally, many also wondered if Jesus was the promised
Messiah. He certainly fit the image of being at least a prophet.
He was outspoken, he had a great following among the people, and he had the
power of healing. Although Jesus did not proclaim openly that he was the Messiah,
The Christ, many others were claiming that they were.
Judea had been fought over for years. Three centuries
earlier, Alexander The Great led Greek armies through the land on their
way to conquer Egypt. Years of strife and repressive governments made the
people long for a leader to restore Judah/Israel to the religious and civil
covenant promised them at Sinai, through Moses. The Pharisees sought to revitalize
religion through synagogues in the local community; the priests clung to
the sacrificial system of the Temple. The Zealots wanted the foreign rulers
and their soldiers out, no matter the cost. Was Jesus The One to make their
dreams come true?
No, as far as they could see, Jesus was not of the
royal kingly families, nor was he a priest, an educated rabbi, or even a
military leader. Rather, he was perceived to be a threat to
their hopes and security, so they arranged to have the Romans crucify Jesus.
Executed men cause no trouble.
Where are they now, priest and king, rabbi and
Yet the carpenter’s
son, whom they crucified, arose from the dead. He was the prophet, priest
and king they longed for, and didn’t recognize. He fit God’s image, but not
their image, of the Messiah,.
He died, and rose again, and salvation for all people
became a reality.
March 31, 2002
to Seeds For Thinking as a FREE weekly email.