The Hope of Easter Pt. 1. The Audacity of Man’s Self Worship
"Therefore, the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council and were saying, 'What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, all men will believe in Him and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."
Jesus had done the unthinkable, and the religious leaders could no longer stand on the sidelines and watch this itinerate preacher wreak havoc with their plans and position. He had not committed some gross sin. He had not broken one of the moral laws of God. He had not rallied the people to promote a revolution against Roman and the Jewish Leaders. But, in their minds, He had done something far worse: He had brought a dead person back to life. One would think that such a demonstration of power and grace would have caused them to see Christ for who He was—The Messianic King and the Son of God. After all, no one could raise a person from the dead without the power of God, for only God can give and restore life to the dead. Instead, for them, it was the final straw that broke the camel's back. No longer could they stand on the sidelines and just vocally denounce him. Something had to be done, for Jesus was now a threat to their position of power.
Consequently, in their folly, they determined to put him to death. In this, their idiocy and insolence are revealed. In the resurrection of Lazarus, Christ had demonstrated that He had power over death. This is man's irrationality that they could think they could put to death one who has power over death. If Jesus could raise the dead, would not that also mean that death has no power over him?
In their actions, these religious leaders revealed the heart and idiocy of sinful men. From the very beginning, humanity, in their rebellious madness, has thought we could throw off the constraints of God's power and law and establish our own. When Adam and Eve rebelled in the Garden, it was not just a simple act of eating a forbidden fruit. It was their attempt to usurp the authority and power of God so that they could be their own god. It was an act of gross idolatry. They sought to abandon the worship and obedience of God and worship and obey themselves. Instead of God worshippers, we became self-worshippers. We worship ourselves when we think we know more than God and reject God's word to establish our own.
So how does God respond when humanity devises plans to undermine His position and authority as the sovereign King of the universe? Does He quake in fear or apprehension? Does He feel threatened and worries that humanity could revolt and gain their independence from God?
Psalm 2 is a messianic Psalm that foresaw man's vain plans to throw off the constraints of the Messianic King to establish their own independence from God (vs. 3). God's response to this attempt, "He who sits in the heavens laughs? The Lord scoffs at them. Then he will speak to them in His anger and terry them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.’" In light of His inescapable sovereignty, the Psalmist tells us what should our response be. Instead of seeking to rebel, we should "Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take their refuge in Him!" Instead of rebelling, we can only submit. To celebrate and receive the salvation Christ provided at the cross, we must first see ourselves as the Pharisees who put Him there.