Then the chief priests and the elders assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Yeshua in some sly way and kill Him. – Mat 26:3-4
Literally, the highly regarded church leaders came together to plan the assassination of a man known to be innocent. These were no ordinary men; but rather, the pastors, evangelists, teachers, etc. of the day. They would have been greatly respected. Their advice would have been highly sought after and taken very seriously. People would have modeled their lives based on the words of their mouths. They were the considered spiritual elite, with men and women willingly submitting themselves to their authority and contributing to their support. Yet, here they were planning to commit serious sin merely to keep those positions of honor.
was also plagued with men of revered
spiritual station who ignored God’s law. The spiritual leaders of his day were
complicit in child sacrifice, idol worship, and spurning God’s laws. I’m
certain they, too, had grown quite comfortable with their authoritative role. Israel
In fact throughout history man has been afflicted by those who claim to represent God, but are clearly far more concerned with themselves than the things of God. We have seen these men wield great earthly power and live opulent lives, openly flaunting an obvious a disregard for our example. (Remember, Christ never owned a home and had to borrow a ride. Mat 21:1-3, Luk ) Some have even gone so far as to declare themselves equal to Christ, and their word as God’s law.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. – Act
In addition, many have staunchly insisted that the common man should never attempt to interpret the word of God without their explicit guidance. Implying that the word of God was in no way intended for the common man, but only for those educated according to whatever denomination, etc. that particular leader adheres to. (Interestingly, it appears that none of the twelve were nearly so highly educated.) In effect the attitude is that while Christ did die for man, He did not desire to educate man on the value of that sacrifice. To be sure Christianity has been profaned because of these men.
In reality, men who seek such great power and wealth have, by the very nature of that quest, already disregarded the things of God.
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Mat
Still, they can appear to be holy while robbing others of their fortunes. They can speak the Scriptures without ever having been transformed by them. And, certainly, they can appear gentle and kind while conniving against the innocent.
I once knew a man, ordained by the church, who used to go to the local late-term abortuary. His “service” was to assist mothers in coming to terms with killing their children. He was a soft spoken, kindly-smiling, well-educated man of apparent affluence and outwardly gentle manner. Smiling sweetly, he would assure the mothers, “We don’t do anything mean to these children. Our methods are kind and gentle. You will not have wronged your child by aborting them. God is not going to be angry with you.”
How do I know? Well, he tried these assurances on me. Not that I had gone for an abortion, because I had not. No, he was just trying to convince me to stop pleading with the mothers to not kill their children -- stop offering them blankets, stop offering them assistance, and, most importantly, stop speaking the Scriptural truth.
Obviously, well to most anyway, this man did not work for God. He was nothing more than a wolf, profiting from the children’s deaths. However, to the unwitting he looked and sounded very proper. He was Biblically educated, had all the right credentials, and was, in fact, a properly ordained minister. He even had many of the right connections, being approved of by many. Certainly, he had the right approach, appearing gentle and compassionate. And by his affluence, he seemed to be espousing a very reasonable philosophy. Yet, his tongue spewed out nothing but self-serving lies.
Before you get too fired up against this man, look back at Matthew 26. The point is that sometimes those we value as spiritual leaders can be completely wrong. And it isn’t always so obvious, especially when the decisions are made – like they were with Christ – by a selected few in private.
Just like the Levitical priests of Christ’s day, denominational leaders today gather to discuss how to deal with the issues of this day. In these meetings abortion, for example, has gone back and forth -- at one point being considered, at another ignored. Yet, when the Scriptures are fully considered, it is clearly an issue for the church. On the other hand, some teach little besides prosperity, as if God really wants to bless a nation that ignores the shedding of innocent blood (Exo 23:7). Even some are saying that there are no more miracles. God has gone silent, according to them.
Obviously, not all Christian leaders are this far afield. The thing to remember, though, is that all Christian leaders are human; and therefore, fallible. So, what do we do?
Well, first off we need realize that God is never as inept as man thinks He is. He doesn’t make mistakes. He says exactly what He means and means exactly what He says. Further, having been intimately involved in the lives of men and women throughout our history, it follows that He remains so. Remember God does not change? Neither does God lie. So when He makes a promise, He honors it.
We have His word recorded for our use. Don’t buy into the ridiculous idea that only those educated by the church can understand it. God is NOT that inept. Therefore, we can take Him at his word when He says:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to whom who knocks the door will be opened.” – Mat 7:7-8
Brothers and sisters this is not a maybe so promise; but rather, a guaranteed assurance. If we seek, He will answer. If we ask for understanding, He will give it. As long as we are seeking in earnest with perseverance to His glory, He will respond. It’s just that simple.