How God Stays in Touch with Man: #17

The question is, “Who is ruining the earth and the people on earth?” The Bible insists that God made a good world! And the Bible insists that God made man good! Man was to manage the world and everything on it (Genesis 1:31). Then, who let Satan, the serpent, into the good world? Again, the Bible insists that it was Eve and Adam! It was Eve and Adam’s friendship with the snake that lost them Paradise. Not only did Eve and Adam lose Paradise, they also lost their relationship with God, the Creator (Genesis 3). God chose Noah, Abraham, and Israel to save man and the world. However, the offsprings of these men, fell into the clutches of Satan. And it was Satan who kept, and who continues to keep sowing bad seed, which is enjoyable to the human appetite of the flesh. At long last, God sent His Son Jesus to save Israel and the world. But the Jewish leaders, of the chosen people, felt threatened! And therefore, the Jewish leaders had Jesus God’s Son removed. Inadvertently, these Jewish high priests sacrificed the “Lamb of God” for their sins. It is a remarkable story! Let us follow the trail of Jesus the Lamb, God sent John the Baptist to announce His Presence:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34).

It All began with Abraham’s Grandson Israel of Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32).

Jesus used a parable to describe the rise and the fall of Israel. God was the Owner, Israel was the vineyard, the leaders were the tenants, and Christ Jesus was the Son of God. The leaders lost the vineyard because they rejected the Son of God and they killed Him. Jesus reminded them:

Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a towner  and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants? They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:

‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.”

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. But when they tried to arrest him, they feared the multitudes, because they held him to be a prophet (Matthew 21:33-46).

Israel’s Leaders were in the Way of World Redemption and They had to be removed

In the parable, Jesus predicted the removal of the false Jewish leaders and the end of their kingdom (Mark 13:1-23). The high priest assumed that Jesus would incite the Romans and that the Romans would terminate their lucrative religion, which filled their pockets with Roman currency that had to be exchanged for worthless Jewish currency. To get into the temple, the worshippers needed Jewish money. And to get out of the temple, they had to re-purchase Roman money. That is why Jesus drove out the money changers and the traders because the Jewish leaders had become the legal robbers (John 2:13-17). Therefore, Jesus took control of the temple and the Jewish leaders did not dare to arrest Him for fear of the crowds. The crowds saw in Jesus, not just a prophet like Moses, but they also saw, in Jesus the likeness of the son of David, who would restore Israel. Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, like David had done, was devastating to the the high priest’s family (Matthew 21:1-17; Luke 19:28-48). It was at this crucial time, that Jesus served notice of their demise with “The Parable of the Tenants.” And then Jesus added, “The Parable the Wedding Banquet” in which the legal intended recipients reject the rightful king and lose the kingdom to the outsiders.

And Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold,I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’ But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, bt those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:1-14).

The Plan to Redeem Man and the World preceded Creation

Jesus, during His time on earth, dropped some hints and I have been sidetracked with unrelated suggestions that have even become assumed facts. For instance, how would Jesus’ Life and Jesus’ Ministry have ended if there were no Ceaphas, Judas, Pilate, or even a Paul? It would have made no difference! Because the plot to redeem man was set in motion before the world was created! Jesus, Himself, was in control of man’s salvation from the beginning to the end and no one could stop Jesus! The Kingdom, over which Christ shall reign, began in heaven, even before the world was created. And Christ promised that there was a place waiting for his followers:    

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ (Matthew 25:34).

All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the Prophet (Isaiah): “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the of the world” (Matthew 13:34-35).

Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world (John 17:24).

Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house (the kingdom) are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also (John 14:1-3).

Jesus, Himself, set His own sacrifice as the Passover Lamb in motion. Jesus even challenged his enemies to sacrifice Him. And Jesus urged Judas to get the ball rolling. Three times Jesus said that the Son of man must suffer, that the Son of man must die, and that the Son of man must rise again from the dead.

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22).

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he would not have any one know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying, “The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask (Mark 9:30-32; Matthew 17:22-23; Luke 9:43-35).

And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles; and they will mock him, and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and acter three days he will rise” (Mark 10:32-34; Matthew 20:17-19; Luke 18:31-34).

For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

The Plot to Apprehend and Sacrifice the Lamb of God was not designed or completed by Man but by Christ Himself

Jesus, according to the Gospel of John, came to Jerusalem to annoy the Jewish leaders by disrupting their temple, by healing on the Sabbath, and by claiming that He was the Son of God; for the sole purpose to sacrifice Christ for their sins. Jesus offered Himself to them to kill Him, so that He could return from the realm of the dead and go up to be with His Father in heaven. Jesus laid His Life on the altar by their hands, voluntarily! It was Jesus’ choice! However, Jesus let the Jewish leaders believe that it was their choice. Pilate tried to impress Jesus that he had the power to put Him away. However, Jesus denied it. Jesus sent Judas to the Jewish leaders to assist them in arresting and in condemning Jesus to death. It has been suggested that Judas believed that Jesus had a legion of angels ready to usher in a “new Israel.” At the same time, the Jewish leaders feared that Jesus’ followers would riot, and that the Romans would take away their kingdom. Their presumption was correct, except it was their choice of Barabbas, and not Jesus, who would incite Rome. Jesus had come to save Jerusalem and to save Judea:

And when Jesus drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:41-44).

At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to Jesus, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” And he said to them, “Go and tell the fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken! And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord (Luke 13:31-35)!’”

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and storing those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord’ (Matthew 23:37-39).

The Jews then said to Jesus, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple (His body), and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken (John 2:18-22).

I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it don of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father (John 10:14-18).

When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesu; so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, “Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.” So lying thus, close to the breast of jesus, he said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after the morsel, Satan entered  into him, Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly” (John 13:21-27).

Pilate said to them (Jewish leaders), “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid; he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”

Upon this Pilate sought to release him but the jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar” (John 19:6-12).

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him; but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” But one of them, Caia-phas,who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So front that day on they took counsel how to put him to death (John 11:45-53).