Faithlife Sermons

The Road To Resurrection

· When we think of the resurrection of Christ, we tend to concentrate on that one event and we should.
· That being the case, we often look at the events leading up to the resurrection as distinct events as well. However, they are all a part of the road to resurrection, a resurrection that doesn’t stop at the tomb but continues to take place even today.
· So, starting tonight and for the following four weeks, I’d like for us to take a more detailed look at that road to resurrection and hopefully see that the resurrection, as great as it was, is just a part of the great plan of God’s restoration.

Lesson #1 The Pharisee’s Problem: Why did the Pharisees hate Jesus so much?

· To begin our first step on this road, we will be looking at the pharisees’ problem.
· The pharisees were the main group of people who had Jesus crucified and they did so out of a hatred for Jesus. But why did they hate Him so? Who were they and how did they have so much control?
· To answer those questions, we must travel back to the OT, all the way back to a promise that God made to the people of Israel.
Leviticus 26:14–16 NKJV
‘But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.

Israel Forsakes God

· Now for those who have studied the Bible for a while, you know that Israel was forever breaking the commands of God and even worshiping false gods in place of the one true God.
· As a result, God held up His promise that in the day Israel forsook Him, He’d forsake them, and others would come in and rule over them.
· Now advance to the splitting of the 12 tribes and the conserving of the nation of Israel.
· The Babylonians took over the southern kingdom and took the people into captivity.

The Babylonian Captivity

· The nation was in bondage for 70 years and then got to come back. Not wanting to make the same mistake, the Law of God was followed, so much so that laws were invented to keep from breaking the laws.
· Well, who would step in and make sure that the laws for the law would be adhered to?

In steps the Pharisees

· When you talk to people who are non-Christians today, they are usually very complimentary of Jesus. They’ll say: “I don’t believe that He was the Messiah.” or “I don’t believe that He was the Son of God, but Jesus was certainly a great person. “
· He was a great teacher, and maybe He was a prophet. But that is about it.
· But this kind of high tolerance for Jesus is not accepted by all nor is this dislike for Jesus something new either.
John 15:18 NKJV
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
· Now, just as then, people treat Jesus and His followers with hostility.
· In Jesus day there was a group that hated Jesus the most. These people are the scribes and Pharisees.
· So how much did they hate Him?
· In Luke 20:19-26 the scribes and the chief priests sought to have Jesus arrested.
Luke 20:19–26 NKJV
And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people—for they knew He had spoken this parable against them. So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me? Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They answered and said, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.
· We are told that they wanted to kill Him. In John 5:10-16 (the sheep gate and the pool with the lamb man who Jesus healed on the sabbath.).
John 5:10–16 NKJV
The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ” Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
· In John 8:58 Jesus claimed equality with the Father (because He was equal to the Father) and the result is found in vs. 59
John 8:58–59 NKJV
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
· This goes back to the commands of God that there was only one God and to worship any other or call anything or anyone God is in violation of the law which is punishable by stoning.
· Jesus did the same thing in John 10 and got the same result, they tried to stone Him.

Again, why so much hatred for Jesus?

· When we read these accounts in Scripture, we are prompted to ask, Why did these people speak the way they did and feel the way they did with such hostility toward Jesus?
· while it is difficult to give a complete and precise answer, but there are four posable reasons.

Reasons: 1—Jesus claimed to be God 2—Jealousy 3—Exposing reality 4—Fear

· The first had to do with the fact that we just spoke of, that Jesus claimed to be God.
· The second reason had to do with the old three headed monster, jealousy.
· You might be asking why they would be so jealous of Jesus.
· Simply put, everywhere Jesus went, He attracted huge crowds. These crowds would gather around to listen to His every word and to watch His every move.
· He was very popular among the people, whereas the rulers of the Jews laid heavy burdens on their people, and at the same time looked down on and talked down about those who were not Jews.
· While the pharisees wouldn’t think of having dinner with a tax collector or having anything to do with what some would call lowlifes, Jesus freely associated with these people.
· It was because of this that the people loved Jesus, and they received Him gladly, but what they felt from the Pharisees was judgment and thus shunned them.
· The only thing the Pharisees looked at was the people’s sin, and so they had a certain contempt for the common people. They saw Jesus associating with the common people and saw these so-called common people cheering and loving Him.
· They couldn’t stand it because they were envious and thus suspicious of His popularity.

Reasons: 1—Jesus claimed to be God 2—Jealousy 3—Exposing reality

· The third reason why they hated Him was because He exposed them.
· Before Jesus came, it was the Pharisees as well as the Sadducees and scribes, who set the moral standard for the community.
· They sat in the highest places in the synagogue. They were the ones who were most honored and celebrated for their virtue, but their virtue, as Jesus taught repeatedly, was a pretense and was only external.
Matthew 23:23–28 NKJV
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Reasons: 1—Jesus claimed to be God 2—Jealousy 3—Exposing reality

· They were doing everything possible to hide their impurity before the people and pretended to be righteous and those able to judge others when in fact they were not.
· “The Pharisees started on the right track. It was in the intertestamental period, the 400 years between the OT & NT, that as a group were upset because the people were abandoning the purity of the covenant that they had made with God and were being lax in their morality and in their obedience to the commandments of God.”
· “So the Pharisees sought to draw together and draw apart from the masses and to set a moral example. These were the conservatives of the day.”
· “They had a high system of honor and virtue, and they committed themselves to obeying God. In fact, one sect among the Pharisees believed that if they could keep every law that God gave in the Old Testament for just twenty-four hours, then that would prompt God to send the Messiah to Israel.”
· But a lot of things had happened between the day of the formation of the Pharisees and the time of Jesus shows up on the scene. They had become fake and judgmental toward all others but themselves. And nothing reveals a counterfeit like the presence of the genuine.
· When Jesus walked this earth, true righteousness and holiness was manifested by Him before the eyes of the people. Let me add here that this is why when we look at Jesus and His righteous life, we are confronted by our unworthiness and sin.
· It didn’t take a lot to tell the difference between the fake pharisees and the real Jesus. So the Pharisees were exposed, and because they were exposed they hated Him, and they couldn’t wait to get rid of Him.

Reasons: 1—Jesus claimed to be God 2—Jealousy 3—Exposing reality 4—Fear

· The fourth reason I think that they hated Jesus is because they were afraid—not so much of what He would do to them in His wrath but of the consequences of welcoming Him into their midst.
· Why were they afraid? Look at the history of Israel. In almost every generation going back to Abraham, the Israelites lived under the domination and oppression of a foreign nation.
· You’ve heard of the Pax Romana; there’s also the Pax Israeliana. The Pax Israeliana, or the peace of Israel, was always extremely short-lived.
· Almost always, the people were a conquered people, a people who lived under the oppression of their enemies. In the case of the first-century Jews, the oppressor was Rome.
· Throughout Jewish history, there had always been those who were committed to revolution, who wanted to throw off the yoke of the foreigners who held them captive.
· You’ll see one revolt after another in the history of Israel, and one revolt after another being stopped by the power of the enemy. There were people—at least two, probably more—among Jesus’ disciples who were called Zealots.
· The Zealots were an aggressive political party whose concern for the national and religious life of the Jewish people led them to despise even Jews who sought peace and conciliation with the Roman authorities.
· Those who were in positions of power and authority, as the Pharisees and Sadducees were, feared losing their power and authority. The Jewish leaders feared the consequences of a revolt against Rome. So they sought peace with Rome.
· They feared that Jesus somehow would lead an insurrection, cause another uprising, and consequently bring a bloodbath, and so they sought to remove Him before He caused them trouble.

The Road To Resurrection

· In the end, this group would lead the way to having Jesus put to death on the cross. They hated Him so much that they even sidestepped some of their on rules just to see Jesus put to death.
· As they no doubt gazed at Jesus on the cross, they assumed they’d won a victory but what they didn’t know is that they were just the first part of the road to resurrection.
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