What was it that kept Jesus centered, focused, and on message? Know that Jerusalem was a dangerous place for him to be; he went there, not incognito, but in fanfare. His knowledge of his own destiny was wrapped in the knowledge of being part of the chosen people. He fulfilled in himself the hope of Israel. He restored the covenant between God and his people. Nothing could come in the way of that, not suffering, cruelty or death itself.
He was absolutely convinced that God was leading to his human destiny and that was to fulfill the prophecy of the scriptures, the coming of the Messiah. We must not separate Jesus from the chosen people. Everything about him was formed and informed by being born into a chosen people. A people chosen to be in right relationship with God.
That is why we call ourselves Judeo Christians; the Easter message is told through the prism of the Old Testament Scriptures.
On Palm Sunday Jesus was being hailed as the Messiah, Saviour and King; but he did not let this distract him from what he had to do; to go to the cross, willingly and freely, if this was what he had to do. The scriptures had to be fulfilled for the Messiah to be recognised as the Son of God.
The Jewish authorities could handle Jesus being the Messiah; this is what and who they were hoping for. They could not accept him identifying himself as the Son of God. To utter the name of God was blasphemy enough; to identify oneself as the Son of God was a form of treason. Utterly intolerable and unacceptable from their World view and their interpretation of the Jewish scriptures. Their authority came from the Levitical priesthood. It began with Aaron, the older brother of Moses (Exodus 28:1-3). Aaron’s descendants served as the priests of Israel, ministering in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple, primarily as mediators between the chosen people and YHWH.
Israel, as a nation, was recognised by God as his His First Born Son (Exodus 4.22-23). In the time of Christ the Sadducees comprised most of the priesthood and, ironically, they did not believe in a resurrection (Matthew 22:23), or in any kind of spiritual realm, such as Angels and Demons.
So is it any wonder that the authorities conspired to silence him and his message? He was, by claiming to be the Son of God, putting them out of business! They used the law against blasphemy to silence him. As guardians of the law it was their duty. Their agenda was to protect their privileged place in society. It is a human story; with a little digging it always comes down to money. Their justification for silencing him was underpinned by protecting their authority, privilege and power.
You can download this reflection here.