Some say that Jesus was killed by Rome for sedition. They’re serious. They read the Gospels and don’t hear one word about blasphemy. And even though Jesus didn’t speak one word against Caesar, these people read the Gospels and see political crimes. Even though Jesus saw the religious establishment as far more dangerous than Rome, these people don’t see any challenges to the religious establishment by Jesus that might have gotten Him in trouble. Well, I can think of one challenge, and it’s a beauty.
In Luke 11:37 to the end of the chapter, Jesus had been teaching the people when a Pharisee invited Him to share a meal at his place. What a mistake!
It appeared that Jesus went out of His way to provoke these religious leaders. If they had a rule, Jesus seemed determined to break that rule - preferably right in front of them. For example, He went to this guy’s house (of course there were a bunch of other religious leaders there) and He just sat right down at the table without washing first. Jesus’ host looked around the room at his fellow Pharisees and then commented to Jesus about His breaking of the ceremonial rule.
In the next moment all heaven broke lose.
“Now then, you Pharisees . . .” began Jesus’ in a rant that went on and on and on about what a crappy job they were doing. Greedy, wicked, foolish, hypocrites, arrogant and proud were just a few of the things He called those people - to their faces. I guess Jesus wasn’t part of the Emergent, Post Modern Church. Friendly dialogue was not part of His mission plan.
Here’s the part that I love. The lesson here is, Never miss the opportunity to keep your mouth shut. A lawyer that was present said to Jesus, “Teacher, when you say these things to the Pharisees, you insult us lawyers also.” And it’s like a light goes on in Jesus’ mind and He says, “Oh, ya. And while I’m at it, you lawyers are a bunch of jerks as well. The whole bunch of you are murderers from as far back as we can remember. It’s you guys who are actually blocking people from finding God.”
Peaceful, baby Jesus. Isn’t He cute? I wonder if the meal ever got served, much less eaten. Kind of makes you rethink that prayer, "Come Lord Jesus, be our guest. . ."
The thing is, if you’re a sinner looking for grace and forgiveness, then gentleness doesn’t even half describe how kind Jesus will be toward you. On the other hand, if you are someone who says, “God loves me / will forgive me because of how good I am,” look out!
There are few things that tick God off more than self-righteousness.
Oh, and Rome? The only involvement that Rome had in the death of Jesus is to give permission - very reluctantly - to throw His execution in with a couple others that were already planned. The idea for the execution, the plan for the execution, the longing and the desire to see Jesus executed came from the most religious people of the day. It came from those who saw themselves as more pious than anyone else.
Being around those kind of people made Jesus really grumpy, and it showed.