Read John 12: 16-50
Here we have the aftershock of Palm Sunday. Things start heating up. Christ knows the end of His life is rapidly approaching, and the Pharisees jealousy is rising like baked dough in the oven. What intrigues me most about this scripture in John, however, is that voice. It seems like most miss what happens in John 12: 27-29. Christ humbles Himself again, asking to glorify the name of God, and God answers with a booming voice from above.
I want to park there for the day. The voice was said to have “thundered” from above. What in the world did these people think at that moment? What did this really sound like? For Jesus it must have been expected, but for those around Him … what were they thinking? Emotions could range from fear to awe to astonishment to pure elation. It would be interesting to take the perspective of a Pharisee here. Let’s pick up our story with a stream of consciousness narrative told from the perspective of a doubting Pharisee.
He heard the voice. Oh, yes, he had heard it, and he trembled in fear. His face became white. His throat clenched, and he could not swallow. Complete fear flooded his entire being as his vision became cloudy. He had had enough of this Jesus character, and now this? What in the world was happening? The voice was there, clear as day, thundering down from above. There was no mistaking it. Everyone heard it. And now people were starting to believe this lunatic, this Jesus Christ man who claimed to be the Son of God.
Fear shifted to anger. Pure rage. Why must this man question authority here? The Pharisee began plotting in his head how to eliminate the competition. Jesus Christ must be exterminated before the mob gets any worse. He had seen the whole Palm Sunday parade, and those Jews were passionate about their king. Or were they? Did they even know what they were worshiping? Were they just along for the ride, or was their devotion sincere? There was no question that something had to be done about Him immediately.
So this man plotted. He wondered how to get to Him. It had to be through the mob. The mob, after all, controlled the city. Riots would ensue if the wrong things were spread about this Jesus Christ character. The human mind is all too wavering, and if he could just find a way to turn the switch from following this man to questioning this man, there was the possibility that they could be changed. Was this even possible? Sure! It had to be. And it had to be done now.
Now, if he could just find a way to get to Christ. There had to be a backup plan. What if one of His own disciples turned Him over? Talk about a stab in the back! If he could somehow get to a disciple, would it be possible to deliver Jesus to the Roman counsel? It had to work. But how? How could he get one of Jesus’ own disciples to hand Him over? Greed. The love of money. Ah, yes. The weakness of man resides in his lust for more. Man can never have enough, and if the right price were offered for deceiving their king, any one of those men would do it. But which one would be most likely to hand Him over?
Judas! It had to be Judas! The love of money consumed him, coating his heart with a thick dark tar. He had to be the one. The Pharisee got to work immediately. He was propelled by a dark urge inside his soul. This urge was something awful, and it wiped clean that feeling of fright he had just experienced with the voice from above. Who cared about that voice now! The Pharisee was going to use the power of the mob, the power of lust, the power of worldly thinking to overcome this crazed man who called Himself the Son of God. With each step he took, the demon inside him clenched his greedy talons tighter into the Pharisee’s soul like a bloodsucking leech.
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