Even when it seems that nothing is happening, something is. On Wednesday, we don’t see Jesus doing much. Tuesday was a powerful day and He was very active, but now it is Satan’s turn. To this point, Satan’s power has rested in the religious leaders of the day. Isn’t it something how those who claimed to be the closest to God were the right hand of Satan?
The Pharisees began to have conversations about Jesus. They had a meeting to figure out what they were going to do in the face of this rebel Jesus:
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” (NIV)
The Romans were occupying Israel, but letting their religious government continue, but if there was a rebellion against that government, Rome would come down and squash it and do away with this religious institution. The religious leaders were worried about their position and power, but also their systemized religion. The high priest said it would be better to kill Jesus than to allow His influence to start an uprising that would lead to Israel’s demise under the hand of Rome.
Their love for their religion kept their eyes blind to the Messiah. The signs they needed to see Jesus were clear as some did choose to believe.
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (NIV)
Our religion must flow out of love for Christ. Without love, our religion is the worst kind of social club. Without love, the laws of God are dispensed with Hell, fire, and brimstone condemning everyone to death. This kind of teaching forces everyone to become fake pretending they have no sin which is exactly what had happened to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. So they plotted to kill him.
Though the conversations among the Pharisees seemed to have some honor in wanting to protect the temple and religion, there was an underlying issue – money!
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. (NIV)
The Pharisees were religious men, but not all were priests. They were middle-class and enjoyed status among the people. When the Lord begins to bless us, financial blessings will come as well. When we fall in love with the money, we will use anything to cover our idolatry. These men used religion to justify greed.
Then there was Judas…
But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. (NIV)
On the same night Mary anointed Christ with perfume, he objected because of the waste of money. He complained of the waste to support his habit of theft. The Pharisees used religion to hide their love for money. Judas used good works like giving to the poor to cover up his love of money. The Bible says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Here, we see the love of money sours religion and good works. What does it say that both those who wanted Jesus dead and the one who gave Him into their hands loved money?
Money is an issue because money is the answer to all things (Ecclesiastes 10:19). Of course, this passage is not telling us the money is greater than God, but God has given us the ability to produce wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) in order to confirm His covenant to be God and the Provider of His children. We use money for food, for shelter, for healthcare, for pleasure, for religion. Money becomes our god and as Jesus said:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (NIV)
This is the whole purpose of giving back to the Lord. We remind ourselves that He is our Provider. We are not our own provider. He gives us the ability to work, the blessing of gifts, and the wisdom to invest. He is our Provider and none other.
When we stop giving back to the Lord, we will fall in love with money. We may still do good works. We may be active religiously, but the greater our love for money, the more we will put religion and good works above our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Leave me a comment. What do you think? Are you honoring the Lord with your wealth (Proverbs 3:9-10).