Heroes and Villains
“No one is a villain in their own story. We’re all the heroes of our own stories.” -George R. R. Martin
And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” (Matthew 21: 23-27)
As hard as it is to do, for a moment, try to place yourselves into the shoes of the chief priests and the elders in this interaction. In the time and culture of Jesus, the right to teach about the holy scripture could only be given by the Sanhedrin (a blanket term describing chief priests, elders and scribes). This was a widely recognized regulation. When Jesus began to preach without permission, they were understandably upset and asked him why he was breaking the law. It is easy for us to forget that the Sanhedrin do not view themselves as the “bad guys” in this situation. From their point of view, they were simply trying to protect the people from the ravings of a heretic. They honestly believed that Jesus was the villain here when in reality, it was their pride that kept them from seeing Jesus for who he truly was. It was their anger that kept them blind to the truth that their rules were man-made but Jesus was divine.
In today’s world, does the church behave more like Jesus or more like the chief priests and the elders? It’s easy to forget that Jesus spent a lot of time with the people that society (and sadly, often the church) rejects and pushes to the outside. Jesus embraced sinners and lived and loved radically and the religious community shunned him for it. If we are truly to follow in the footsteps of Christ, we as a church must be willing to live as Jesus did, even when it breaks man-made rules or the unspoken rules that we ourselves have put into place.
This week, spend some time reacquainting yourself with Jesus’ ministry here on earth and the principles he taught (particularly in Matthew chapter six) and consider ways you can emulate them as you love like the Serving King…