Devotional Thoughts: Why would anyone want to kill Jesus?

Am looking at Matthew 26:1-5 this morning.

Jesus had concluded his teaching on the "end of the world as we know it."

He returns to a theme he has touched on a few times before: his expectation of death on the Cross.

The leaders of the existing power structure knew it was risky to try to kill Jesus. Since it was the time of the Passover, Jerusalem's population may have swelled to five times is normal levels. Jesus was gaining quite a bit of attention. The crowds might object if they tried to take Jesus in public. Thus, they planned to seize Jesus quietly.

We often have a picture of Jesus in our heads of Jesus with the little children and some little lambs giving out encouraging sayings. I'm sure that is a real picture of Jesus but obviously not a complete picture. I mean, if that was all Jesus was, why would anyone want to kill him? Why kill a harmless nice guy who is nice to the little kids?

The quest for the "authentic" Jesus has to face at least two important facts: he died and he rose again. The Bible record tells us about this. But there are sources outside the Bible that say this as well!

What is the picture of Jesus you have in your head?

Would that Jesus be perceived as a threat to the existing power structure?

Would a Da Vinci Code Jesus have been worth the trouble of killing?

Would a Jesus who goes around making pithy sayings and colorful parables been worth plotting against?

The Jesus of the Bible talks about the Kingdom of God and the sinfulness of man. The religious powers that be got nervous because of all his kingdom talk because they wanted to be in charge. The religious powers that be got nervous because Jesus pointed out their hypocrisy. The religious powers that be eventually had to bring in the political powers that be because they couldn't handle the problem of Jesus. Thus, in the end, the Roman political forces killed Jesus at the behest of the Jewish religious forces.

Yet, in the final analysis, Jesus was killed because of me. My sin. Your sin. Our sin. Sin had to be paid for and Jesus paid for it.

And he rose again in victory over sin and death.

Lord, help me to live for you like St. Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Amen.