Monday, November 17, 2014

A Generation of Vipers

Life of Christ 158

          It is Tuesday morning two days before Passover. Jesus will die tomorrow. He and His Apostles have entered the Temple and promptly been ambushed by the Sanhedrin and its representatives. They have launched attack after attack on Jesus Christ and He has met them all ably. On this day Jesus is in no mood to mince words. After several different pharisaical attacks ran into a messianic buzz saw Jesus promptly launches His own attacks. Our story today contains the last two of these. (Matthew 22.41 through Matthew 23.36)
          His first attack He couches in the form of a question directed toward the Pharisees. What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he? In relation to the messiah, from whom will he be descended? Well, the answer is obvious and Scripture repeats it again and again. He will be a direct descendant of David. This is the answer the Pharisees give. They say unto him, The Son of David.
          Unknowingly, the Pharisees have just walked full on into a deadly trap. Having gotten their permission to quote a messianic psalm (Psalm 110.1) of David's Jesus hits them right between the eyes. How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? The question pierces right to the heart of the main objection to His claims by the Sanhedrin. Jesus asserted not only that He was the Messiah but that He was God Himself. The Sanhedrin, not understanding the Trinity, took that to mean Jesus wanted to turn their religion from monotheism to polytheism. They believed that Jesus was blaspheming the lynch pin of the entire Torah – Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Yet if that indeed is the case then why did David, clearly referencing the Messiah, say that Jehovah (LORD capitalized in the King James Version) referred to the Messiah as Adonai (Lord in the King James Version)? In other words, why did Jehovah call David's descendant, the Messiah, a term reserved for God alone?
          The answer is patently obvious. It is because the Messiah was God Himself come in the flesh. Psalm 110 is a clear Old Testament reference to the divinity of Christ. Thus, Jesus has every right in the world as Messiah to claim to be God. All morning the Sanhedrin has been trying to trap Jesus and put Him into a verbal box from which He cannot extricate Himself. All morning He has batted away their attempts with ease. Now it is His turn, and the box in which He places them is a veritable vise squeezing the life out of their foolish rebellion. They can make no possible answer to this that will support their resistance to His claims. The psalm in question is clearly messianic and it clearly says the Messiah is God. Their solution is so sad to me. Instead of repenting of their error and yielding to His claims they simply clam up. Like a stubborn teenager who will not admit he is wrong they hold a sullen rebellious silence. And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
          As you see, Jesus had completely shut them up. Silence reigns in the circle around Him. Now, looking directly into the faces of the representatives of the Sanhedrin, Jesus launches a full orbed diatribe against them. It goes on and on and on and contains the harshest language He has ever used. He holds nothing back. He tells them the complete and brutal truth regarding their system, their hypocrisy, and their wickedness. The previous Autumn Jesus had launched a similar diatribe at the Pharisees, and I took eight blog posts to deconstruct it. You can find the first one here. Now, months later, and with only hours left in His life He repeats it and in so doing writes the epitaph of pharisaic rabbinic Judaism. In conclusion, Jesus aptly identifies the soul and destination of the Pharisees. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
          This entire morning has been one verbal sparring match between Jesus and Israel's religious leadership. There is blood all over the floor, metaphorically speaking, and none of it is His. Yet in spite of how He has once again proved Himself before the people nothing changes. Many people marvel at Him but no one is convinced. On the other hand, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, and Sanhedrin are just as much convinced as ever that He needs to die, and to do so as soon as possible.
          Do not tell me that you cannot believe on Christ. Tell me you will not believe. His claims are not in question. His moral perfection is not in question. His deity is not in question. His fulfilling of prophecy is not question. His knowledge of and adherence to the Word of God is not in question. There are no remaining questions about His life or His claims. There is only rebellion. There is only a stubborn refusal to believe.
          I realize many people go to hell out of misplaced ignorance but such was not the case for the Jewish people of Christ's day. They were a nation of vipers and although they would succeed in assassinating Him on the morrow they would ultimately lose – their Temple would be burned, their beloved Jerusalem would be smashed, their nation would cease to exist, they would bring upon themselves millennia of anti-semitism, and worst of all, they would end up in hell.
          You cannot fight God and win.

          You just can't.

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