Today, Christians celebrate Easter, a day commemorating Jesus Christ’s resurrection.
In recent years, I have sent you Easter messages focusing on the resurrection story and what Christ taught us about redemption. Today, I wanted to take a different tack. I want to talk about the people who tried to kill and discredit Jesus and how they almost succeeded.
The Jewish elders were fearful of Jesus’ growing influence. The messages he taught his followers directly contradicted their own. Christ actually used many of these Jewish elders as examples of what not to do.
"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
Jesus told his disciples that he would demolish the temple and rebuild it in three days. But the temple wasn’t to be rebuilt the same as before. Christ was setting humanity down an alternate path, away from hypocrisy and vainglory.
For this, the Jewish elders tried to kill Jesus. They tried to discredit him, drag his name through the mud, and make his followers ashamed to even show their faces in public.
While Christ was dying on the cross, passersby hurled insults at him. "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!" They were also trying to dissuade Jesus’ most loyal followers and they almost succeeded.
Earlier in the Gospel of John, Jesus’ disciples are wary about returning to Judea where some Jews had attempted to stone Jesus. At this point, Thomas speaks up and says, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Thomas was the one in the twelve to offer to give up everything for his friend and teacher.
The Doubting Thomas story is so important because it highlights how close the Jewish elders and Romans came to breaking a loyal disciple’s spirits.
Even though Thomas could see his resurrected friend and teacher right in front of him, he still didn’t believe it was really Christ. It was only after he stuck his finger into Christ’s wounds that he realized he was standing in front of the Son of God.
I am reminded of what we are dealing with in this country right now. Obviously, Donald Trump is hardly a Christ figure. I don’t want you to get the impression that I am comparing the two. No one can hold a candle to the Son of God.
There is nothing unique, however, about the fear, hunger for power, and jealousy that drove Christ’s killers. We see it everyday right in front of us. Whenever establishment power figures feel threatened, they do everything in their power to destroy and discredit the threat.
And we are seeing this today. The mainstream media is doing everything it can to cling to what little power it has left. It doesn’t matter how much they need to lie or mislead the people. There is no low that they will not stoop to.
So this Easter, celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and our redemption. Celebrate the fact that two thousand years ago, the Son of God sacrificed himself on a cross for us.
But also remember that the feelings of jealousy and fear that compelled Christ’s enemies to put him to death are still alive and well today.
A Happy Easter to You and Yours,
Joe Otto and the Conservative Daily Team