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July 28, 2021 4:00 am
The religious leaders were not God pleasers.
They were not man pleasers either they were self pleasers, and they knew that if Jesus was arrested by the Romans. The people's hopes in him would be crushed.
They would get rid of him and secure their ongoing ban insurgent disguised as cops came to a roadside police station near Kandahar, Afghanistan. The guards at the station, relaxed, thinking the men were fellow police officers. By the time the guards realized they'd been tricked. The Taliban soldiers had opened fire. Well, like those police officers who faced enemies disguised as friends. There are churches today being attacked by spiritual enemies disguised as Christians.
How do you recognize and deal with these people.
What can you learn from Jesus example consider that today on grace to you as John MacArthur gives you practical biblical methods for spotting error.
It's part of his study how to talk to a heretic.
Now here's John with the lesson. Open your Bible to the gospel of Luke in the 20th chapter were going to return to the passion we week of our Lord Jesus Christ, crucifixion look at the next in the series of texts that Luke gives to us to record both the earthly and the spiritual history of this great week.
Let me set the scene a little bit for you. It is Wednesday of passion week Wednesday. By Friday, Jesus will be crucified on this Wednesday. Jesus spent the day in the temple, surrounded by masses of people who had flowed into Jerusalem because it was passed over time and when Jesus came into the city. They in a euphoria of hope wanted him to be the Messiah.
They had long waited for and so they gave him a triumphal entry and they were still hanging on everything he did, and every word he said. By Wednesday in the temple, he is teaching these great crowds, but in every crowd. The religious leaders are present and there are repeated confrontations between Jesus and these religious leaders. The crowd just wants to hear him teach, they they want him to say the things their longing to hear the religious leaders want to trap him in his words, people know he's a miracle worker.
They know he raised Lazarus from the dead. They want him to be the long-awaited Messiah and that this time on Wednesday there still hopeful that he will indeed be that Messiah tide is not turned against it. But the leaders have hated him for a long time.
They have hated him for years. They want him dead and they want him dead fast and they will get what they want by Friday same crowd that cried hosanna on Monday will cry crucify him on Friday.
The shift is massive.
180° and the religious leaders are essentially the architects of this shift their brilliant how can you turn the tide among hundreds of thousands of people in a few days from hailing someone has a would-be Messiah to wanting his blood as a criminal and an imposter. Theirs is a kind of malevolent genius and every day they want him dead more than they did the day before and every hour they want him dead more than they did the hour before and everything he says only escalates their animosity every confrontation they have with him only steals their objective and their purpose. By the time we come to our text, at which begins in verse 19. They are at a feverish level of desperation. Jesus is popular wildly popular. He has the attention of the masses and he's telling them things that are destructive of these religious leaders and the people know it we can verse 19, the scribes and the chief priest tried to lay hands on him that very hour, and they feared the people, for they that is, the people understood that he, Jesus spoke this parable against them. The religious leaders they were getting it. Jesus was not just teaching them theology.
He was exposing the falseness of these religious leaders to the people they were the ones who killed the prophets in the past it had always been led by the false leaders. They are the ones who will lead the execution of the son of God as well.
Stakes really high. The people were pro-Jesus and becoming increasingly anti-Pharisee, anti-Sadducees, anti-Herodian, the complex of sex that made up the powerful and influential religious leaders. They have to put it to a stop. They have to turn the crowd.
The other way that is not an easy job. They had their way they would stone them on the spot in the good old-fashioned Jewish way find alleged throw them over and crush him under stones can't do that Caesar has removed their right to exercise capital punishment. Caesar has the power to take life. The Jews do not. They can't do that, they've got to come up with a way to get rid of Jesus preserve their own position and to turn the crowd 180° the other direction, and in this text we see their malevolent genius at work. Now there are a lot of ways that you can break this text down to understand it, but I think what perhaps is most direct is to look at it is a complex of sins and call it a diagnosis of the Christ projectors do a little bit of spiritual pathology looking into those specific sins that characterized their efforts.
Let's begin with the sin of hatred in verse 19. That was the dominant reality they hated Jesus.
Verse 19 of the scribes and the chief priest tried to lay hands on him that very hour if they had their way, they would've taken them right there right then, on the spot mentions the scribes and the Pharisees and scribes. You know were the scholars the lawyers of the law. Theologians, the chief priests were those were the most prominent priests. There were also according to Matthew and Matthew records the same incident. Matthew 22 Mark records that Mark 12 so you have three different accounts of this which all mesh wonderfully and I'll make reference to some of the others as we go through it. Matthew 2215 says that included the Pharisees so you have the chief priests, you have the scribes and you have the Pharisees by now the hatred of the chief priests and scribes and the Pharisees is very well established. Matthew tells us there was another group there and Mark does as well call the Herodian's the Herodian's are another sector. They are political party of pro-Herod Jews Herodian's were pure politicians who wanted to be attached to the reigning power and new to do that you have to play the game with room Pharisees will do that little bit not to the degree that the Herodian's were. But amazingly the Pharisees and the Herodian's can get together to get rid of Jesus.
And this isn't anything new in Mark chapter 3 verse six way back long before this way back at the start of Jesus Galilean ministry. It says the Pharisees went out and immediately began to take counsel with the Herodian's against Jesus as to how they might destroy him. So they have been in alliance or collusion to get rid of Jesus literally for years so you have everybody in on this thing. Scribes and Pharisees, priests, Herodian's, some of the priests no doubt would've been Sadducees as well. Sadducees were the religious liberals Pharisees were the religious fanatics and fundamentalists. Herodian's were the politically motivated, they were altogether along with the theologians called scribes. All of them have the same common and get rid of Jesus. So here is Judaism's brain trust of that day and Matthew tells us they were plotting together. This is a high level multilateral meeting, a meeting of all the mines on one common end, getting rid of Jesus and they really wanted to lay hands on them that very hour they didn't want to wait one more hour they wanted to take him and killing but they couldn't whine. They feared the people for the understood that he spoke this parable against them if they did anything that looked like what Jesus said they were going to do. They would then create a self-fulfilling prophecy in bringing the wrath of people down on their own heads.
They had to play this one very carefully. They had to find a way. Just think of it, to turn this massive populace from positive attitudes toward Jesus to negative attitudes toward Jesus from wanting him to be their king to wanting him dead.
How were they going to do that was only one way, there was only one power of execution in the land that was room in the end Rome had to killing but they didn't need to have him dad to have the people turned against him. All they needed to do was have Rome arrest him.
They were anti-room.
All of the really the play whatever game they needed to play with room to keep their power, but they bitterly hated all things Roman and they knew the populace despised all things Roman.
But they needed Rome's help, not just to execute Jesus, but they needed Rome to arrest him and they needed to quickly. How are they going to do that Rome was hypersensitive about one crime insurrection, insurrection, they prided themselves on pox Romana keeping the Roman peace.
They prided themselves on quelling rebellions prided themselves on executing insurrectionist and rebels. They needed to trap Jesus in an insurrectionist statement and then the Herodian's would report him because they had all the lines of communication to the Romans, who would swiftly execute this rebel as they did other such rebel so the Pharisees and scribes and the chief priests and the Herodian's all get together, they have this planning meeting to come up with a strategy to make this happen. All they needed to do was get the Romans to arrest him and that would turn the people against one because the people believe that the Old Testament promise the Messiah would come and set up a kingdom right and they weren't runabout that the Messiah would come and establish his throne in Jerusalem in Israel deliver Israel from all Gentile domination and then Israel would be the primary nation over the whole world that when the Messiah came, he would establish a kingdom. It would break the back of all Gentile pagan blasphemers idolatrous tyranny. Anybody who wanted to be a Messiah. Anybody who wanted to be accepted as a Messiah would have to be anti-Gentile anti-room and if they could get Jesus to appear anti-room room would step in fast and as soon as this would be Messiah showed that room had the power over him and not he, having the power over room. The tide would turn because he couldn't be the Messiah. How they can make it happen. How are they going to turn Jesus into what appears to be a dangerous revolutionary. The Romans already knew he had power over masses of people. They could see it before their very eyes, and Pilate was in Jerusalem at this time, though he wasn't always there. His abode was in another place he was there because it was Passover and the city was swell with all these pilgrims and he was there to make sure he kept things in control. They had to have Jesus arrested by the Romans, and that would prove finally that he was not the Messiah. So how were they going to get room to arrest him.
They had to do it that way and then back to verse 20 into the verse they could deliver him to the rule and the authority of the governor.
That was the whole objective. So what you've got here is a kind of impotent rage. They hate him so much. Their hatred is that the fever pitch. They want him dead but they must protect their own positions because they fear the people. This describes their hatred, and a second sin, their pride, their pride in that statement in verse 19. They feared the people because the people understood that he was telling a parable about them that they were the ones he said were killers of the son of God. They feared the people what you mean, they feared the people they feared that they would lose the people. The steam trust. See popularity, acceptance, elevation, honor, respect came to them from the people they fed on it. In fact, it was essential to feeding their self-righteous egos. They loved to draw attention to themselves. They love to wear certain clothes and act in certain ways and carry on certain behaviors that drew people's attention to them and made them seem pious and holy and elevated superior. They sought the chief seats at the banquets. Jesus said in Matthew 23 they wanted people to call them father, teacher, master. They needed the people.
Like all false religious leaders do all their power all their honor all their steam all their position all their prominence came from the people and the people right now were still feeling the buzz of the triumphal entry that Jesus might be the Messiah. Matthew 2146.
As these leaders feared the multitude, because the multitude believed Jesus was a prophet.
At least he was a prophet and so they were afraid to go against the crowd because they needed the crowd, by the way, the words of the New Testament.
The words of our Lord himself in Matthew 23 tell us that these leaders had no love for the people.
No love for the people.
In fact, they used the people and they abused the people they heaped upon them heavy burdens, legalistic burdens and wouldn't lift a finger to help them carry those burdens.
Jesus said they put upon them a yoke that no person could bear.
They ruled by fear and intimidation. The way all false religious leaders rule and work they put people under fear that if they don't obey them and do what they say they'll go to hell, they'll miss the kingdom of God. They didn't do anything for the people they turn them into sons of hell.
They made them worse by their false doctrine and they had nothing but contempt for the people they despise them, thought them lower than they never invited them to their homes or their luncheons or their dinners or their banquets had no contact with them. They were not God pleasers, but they were not man pleasers either they were self pleasers who fed their proud souls on the accolades of those that they intimidated and abused and they knew that if Jesus was arrested by the Romans. The people's hopes in him would be crushed and they would get rid of him and secure their ongoing prominence so there full of hate and there full of pride and they have to find another way because they can't just lay hands on them, which is a term that means sees him and take him away, either to killing more to the Romans to have them killed until they have a reason and if they did that with no apparent reason.
Before the people, the people would turn on them so they have to turn the attitude of the people that leads them to 1/3 sin in this complex of sins hypocrisy they have to play their game at the game in which they were so adept the game of hypocrisy. All false religious leaders are hypocrites then and now and always. And they are masters at their discussions, so verse 20 says they watched him surveillance they watch them. Were they looking for. They sent spies who pretended to be righteous in order that they might catch him in some statement so as to deliver him up to the rule and authority of the governor the end of the whole plan was to get him to Pilate, the Roman governor who represented Caesar whose job it was to make sure it was no trouble in Israel who would deal with any rebel or insurrectionist. They had to get him to the governor in order to get them to the governor they had to catch him in some statement that would cause the Romans to want to arrest him and kill him in order to catch him in that kind of statement that you had to find them in the right moment.
And so they watched him and they sent spies masquerading as honest truth seekers by way Matthew says the spies were disciples of the Pharisees, along with the Herodian's because the Herodian's had the direct access to the Romans, they were largely in cahoots tightly. So the idea was to catch him in something and the Herodian's will rush to the Romans and since the Herodian's don't have religious issues at the top of their list, but political ones, it'll be much more believable if the story is told by the Herodian that little phrase pretended to be righteous was a standard than for false religion, and it always is, pretended to be righteous. What they actually wanted was to trap him catch him in some statement that would cause him to be arrested and taken to the Roman authorities and executed as a rebellion leader rebel now.
They didn't think Jesus was the Messiah. They were completely confident he was not the Messiah.
They thought he was just a guy trying to make people think he was the Messiah, and in order to keep up the game. He would be forced to take the popular view that we have to overthrow room so all they have to do is put them in a position where he has to say that once the Romans arrest him, and he shows that Rome has the power over him. He doesn't have the power of the room.
The people will turn in a minute.
It will be over in the Romans were killed so the looking for the moment, this is grace to you with John MacArthur.
Thanks for being with us. John is Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary. He's currently showing you how to talk to a heretic. That's the title of our series will could be. You've tune in the last few days in your thinking will I don't recognize this Jesus that you're talking about. He's aggressive he's purposely provocative. He's confrontational. That's not the Jesus I've heard about.
So what about that John, do you think we're blowing out of proportion. These incidents with the Jewish leaders would be fair to say that confrontation was really common in Jesus ministry yeah you could basically say that the Gospels for gospel start out with the birth narratives and John the Baptist in the end it with a passion week and in the middle. There are basically two things going on there is his ministry to the people which was healing and casting out demons and and speaking the truth and right alongside of that was his constant conflict with the Jewish leaders and there's no way to avoid that you would literally have to take out the middle part of every gospel the middle of Matthew the middle of Mark in the middle of Luke in the middle of John because that's what was happening. He was speaking to the people and the leaders resented what he was saying and he was also criticizing the leaders to the people and that led to confrontation between himself and the leaders know this is a him you couldn't possibly go through a gospel and avoid this, you have to lead up to miss the middle section of the gospel chapter after chapter after chapter. So when we're talking about how Jesus confronted a heretic. False leaders were talking about what essentially went on for the three years of his ministry and finally culminated in the leaders reaching a point where they hated him so much that they got the Romans to execute them. It was the confrontation that led to his crucifixion from a human standpoint. So that's that's essential in understanding Jesus ministry and how he confronted those who taught error. I would just remind you again of something we've been letting you in on live a brand-new book that I've written called Jesus unleashed. This is the Jesus that the people don't hear about very often. Yes, he was merciful.
Yes, he was gracious. Yes, he was sympathetic to our weakness. But yes, he was passionate, unwavering, and fiercer in confronting those who taught lies in error and attacked God. The book Jesus unleashed highlights the boldness and power of Jesus, and I will help you to be bold and powerful when you proclaim the gospel hundred 50 pages, hardcover available from Grace to you.
Yes, and this could be an especially helpful book for fathers or church leaders. People who are responsible for protecting others from doctrinal error to order a copy of Jesus unleashed. Contact us today our toll-free number 855 grace and our website Jide TY.org again the title to ask for Jesus unleashed this book will show you how our Lord's approach to false doctrine applies to the current age of compromise to order your copy, call 855 grace or go to Jide TY.org and let me highlight one more resource that will help you understand scripture in the person of Christ.
More and more every day. I'm talking about our free Simply called the study Bible.
It gives you the text of Scripture in the new American Standard king James and English standard versions along with instant access to thousands of free study aids that includes blog articles, devotionals and more than 3500 of John MacArthur sermons to download the app again. It's called the study Bible. Visit our website Jide TY.org that's our website one more time. Jide TY.org now for John MacArthur and the grace to you staff on Phil Johnson encouraging you to watch grace to you television this Sunday. Check your local listings for channel and times and also be here tomorrow when John helps equip you to confront error, particularly when it's coming from your own church.
It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you