The day after his arrest, Jesus was brought before the chief priests to be examined and tried by them. He was humiliated, mocked and struck by the soldiers holding him. And yet despite these acts Jesus withstood the shame and in his words and actions He gave us a lesson as an example that He spoke of in other places.
Questioned by the Chief Priests
The chief priests had been seeking to denounce him and to find wrong in Jesus for a long time. Now that they had him wrongfully arrested they sought to again find something with which they could charge him. So they questioned him to try to break him down.
They said to him, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” (Verse 67) Now he had been amongst them teaching the people, healing the sick, raising the dead and so on for the previous three years. His words and deeds proved that He was the Christ. When John the Baptist sent some of his disciples to Jesus asking, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Jesus responded saying, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.” (Matthew 11:3-6)
He was telling them to look at the signs He did, the words He spoke and the blessings to the people as proof and evidence of who he was. Likewise the priests and the scribes had followed Jesus throughout his ministry and they too had witnessed all these things. So the proof of Jesus being the Christ should have been obvious to them too. But they chose not to believe He was the Christ for they were looking for a King to take over.
A Lack of Belief
The chief priests did not have faith to believe. In fact they opposed Jesus which is why they had him arrested and would shortly put Jesus to death. And Jesus recognised they did not have faith when He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I ask you, you will not answer.” (Verses 67-68)
Those who oppose the Lord and choose not to believe will not be convinced. Regardless of what is said to them they will not recognise Jesus for who he is and Jesus gave us this principle so that we would not bang our heads against a brick wall.
He said elsewhere, “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.” (Matthew 7:6) This is the same message we see in Jesus example. Those who refuse to believe are not worth the effort you might expend trying to convince them. Jesus calls them dogs or swine. What is worse these unworthy people will turn and attack you when you try to give them what is good.
Again Jesus describes this situation elsewhere saying of His generation, “We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.” (Matthew 11:17) They refused to listen to Jesus and were not in harmony with the Lord. Basically Jesus was showing that if He said one thing, they did another, and if He reversed his approach they still did the opposite. In this way the chief priests and those who oppose Jesus show their lack of faith and their opposition.
What About the Great Commission?
Now of course we know that one of the things the Lord said to his people was to take the gospel to the world. He said that it was necessary to preach the word. And when we do that there will be those who oppose the Lord. So should we ignore them? Should we walk away from giving them the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
No. We still need to give the basic teachings of Christ, but then weigh up how much we continue with them. In the end it is not us who convince people of the truth, it is the Lord. And if He has his hand upon someone, he will provide both the right servant to get through to them and give them the understanding of the message. As it says elsewhere, “If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also” (John 12:26)
There is no doubt that the Lord sometimes calls those who had previously stood in opposition to Him. Consider the Apostle Paul as an example. But we do not know the heart of those individuals and whether the Lord is working on them, or that they are so hardened that their opposition will not be broken. Which is why I say we need to give the message, but that it is the work of the Lord to convince.
The Message for Us
Do not hold back in preaching the word of the Gospel to those you are in contact with. But recognise that there are some who will oppose it and will not listen. Whether it is just a matter of timing or their opposition will not change is up to the Lord. He will give people every opportunity to turn and repent and come to him, but we cannot know the hearts and minds of others. So we are to do what the Lord tells us which is to watch these people for as always, we will know them by their fruits.
(Clip Art sourced from ChristiansUnite.com)