The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. Mark 11, verse 18.
Let’s talk about Donald Trump. No, I’m not endorsing Mr. Trump, nor am I going to use this time to insult or demean him. Trump is (mostly) the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. Yes, there is a LONG time to go until the election, so being the front-runner of anything at this point in the election cycle is largely meaningless. Instead, let’s talk about how folks are out to ‘kill’ Mr. Trump.
And ‘kill’ is not a hyperbolic word. Many Republicans and Democrats would love to write the epitaph on Donald Trump’s public career at the earliest possible moment. In this presidential election, it is outsiders (on both sides of the aisle) who are shaking up conventional wisdom and taking the establishment political classes to task. In ways good and bad, unconventional candidates are saying and doing things that both threaten the power of established ‘rulers’ and engender support from a voting population that is largely disinterested and mostly disgusted. Trump, Carson, Sanders, Fiorina, even the no-name professor from Harvard, are saying things that resonate with voters in ways that seem to baffle traditional political advisors, consultants and candidates. According to the elites, that simply can’t be allowed.
The only thing that doesn’t seem to baffle them is their perception that, if traditional politician X fails to secure the presidential nomination, the power of the establishment is threatened.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell about how Jesus was murdered for the same reason. Yes, the reason 2016 outsider candidates are a threat to the current political establishment is exactly the same reason why the religious establishment of 1st century Judea felt threatened by the ‘insurgent ministry’ of Jesus Christ. Jesus was just busy being Jesus, being God Immanuel. He taught love, peace, patience…and confrontation of evil. His very human existence was an existential threat to the power structure of the elites in Jerusalem (both Jewish and Roman). He had built a huge following of passionate believers; what if those followers decided to turn on the Temple or on their Roman overseers? At the very least there would be serious bloodshed. Indeed, revolution was all too possible.
That couldn’t be allowed.
So Jesus had to die. The powers-that-be didn’t want to just end Jesus’ political and ecclesiastical careers: they wanted to end His life. If Jesus didn’t die – if the overseers couldn’t find a way to get rid of Him – then the amazed believers would see they no longer needed Temple worship…or temple taxes. If the passionate followers decided they no longer feared death because the Jewish rabbi had taught them so, then they would no longer fear Rome.
What would happen if all of Trump’s support (or Carson’s, Fiorina’s or anyone’s) turned into active voters? Governments only derive their powers from the consent of the governed. What would happen if all those folks who supposedly support the political outsiders decided they didn’t need the establishment parties? Would the desire for political reform rise and succeed or fail and die?
What would happen if all of us who profess to be Christians and followers of Jesus Christ actually did what He said? Would we have to die as well?
Lord, I want to die this life for You.
Read Mark 11, verses 12-25.