Jesus and Proud People

The One Year Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), November 1

Confrontation exposes heart attitudes. What’s inside flows out!

imagesJudas and the Pharisees’ response to Christ’s confrontation reveals the depth of their pride and mirrors proud religious people today.

Proud people reject Christ in an attempt to cover up personal guilt and exposure – “And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons” (Jn. 18:2-3). Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples, handles the group’s ministry money, using his position to steal. Rather than face the guilt of his greed and theft, he agrees with the chief priests and Pharisees to betray Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Judas uses an intimate gesture, a kiss, in his betrayal.

Proud people reduce and redefine the person of Christ in an attempt to keep from bowing to Him – “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’ . . . Now when He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus answered, ‘I have told you that I am He’” (Jn. 18:4-5). Jesus clearly identifies Himself as the great “I AM”. The Pharisees think that, by reducing Jesus’ person to that of a common man and killing Him, they will end the drama.

Proud people rebuke Christ for His claims – “‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ Jesus said, ’I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ The high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?’ And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death” (Mk. 14:61-64). Jesus’ only crime is to answer a direct question posed to Him (contrary to law); though He answers truthfully, the proud high priest rebukes the King of kings for an answer he doesn’t wish to hear.

Proud people repudiate Christ out of fear and pressure – “Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.’ But he denied it . . .” (Mk. 14:66-68). Three times Peter denies Christ, finally even cursing to prove he does not know Jesus. He who had only hours before announced that he would never deny Christ (Mk. 14:29—“Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be”) now cowers before a young lady. His pride causes him to renounce the One whom he had promised never to leave.

Proud people resist Christ even today. No matter how much their own hearts reveal their sinful state and their need of a Savior, they deny Christ, whether from intellectual pride or fear of man. Jesus calls all to follow Him, but pride still stands as the barrier between many and Christ.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Jn. 18:1-24; Mk. 14:32-52; Mt. 26:36-56; Lk. 22:39-53):
How does Jesus’ time in the garden of Gethsemane differ from that of Adam and Eve’s in Genesis 3? How is it similar?
The accompanying multitude embolden Judas in his betrayal of Jesus. How does Jesus treat His betrayer? What was the basis of Jesus’ submission to Judas, the club-bearing crowd, and the scribes and Pharisees? How does this parallel with Joseph’s response to the betrayal of his brothers in Genesis 50:20?