The Protagonists

Tuesday, Jan. 24                             

Three main groups were involved in the issue of who Jesus was.  Although the leaders of the Jews rejected him as the Messiah, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. They all were well aware that the time was ripe for the coming of their Messiah as prophesied in the O.T., particularly the time schedule as revealed in Daniel 9:5 ff.  Because they had already had zealots claiming to be the Messiah, they were leery of having another pretender appear.  However, Jesus was altogether different than those earlier false Messiahs.  People were in awe of his knowledge, even when he was twelve years old (Lk. 2:41-48).  He fulfilled O.T. prophecies, including being born in Bethlehem and being of the lineage of David.  Miracles attested to the  truth of all those who testified as to Jesus’ identity—the magi (Mt. 2), the shepherds, Simeon, and Anna (Lk. 2).  And there was John the Baptist, who also fulfilled an O.T. prophecy.  Jesus also performed many miracles, even bringing people back from the dead.  He saw and knew things beyond human abilities—Nathaniel under the fig tree (John 1:46-47), Lazarus’ death (John 11) and what the disciples discussed among themselves.  So there was plenty of evidence that the Jewish leaders could not refute—sometimes admitting it (Acts 4:13-17), and other times attributing it to Satan.  There were leaders such as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, both members of the ruling Council, secret followers—out of fear of other Council members  (John 3:1-14, Mt. 27:57-60, John 19:38-42).   But the majority of the leaders opposed Jesus, despite the evidence, mainly because they did not want to give up their powerful and lucrative positions.  But we should not forget John 12:42-43.  “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.  But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”

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