With everything going on in our country and world today, I have been thinking a lot about one man in particular. After hearing and reading intriguing words about him and feeling compelled to write it all down, here are my thoughts.
Who was this man, and what had he done? Why did people go after him with such vitriol and hatred? Are we that perfect ourselves that we can so easily pass judgment on someone else? What did he do to deserve such scorn, such bitterness, such torment? Especially from those who are in authority and power. They threw insults at him and demonized him, and acted as if their lives were perfect. As if they did no wrong. They used their social status and connections to try and trip him up continuously. They wanted to get him kicked out, and they wanted to humiliate him every chance they got. They told lies about him, made up stories about him, and got others to do the same. They plotted terrible things behind his back. They paid people to betray him.
Who are these people? These are leaders of the community. The people in charge. The ones who were put into their positions to watch out for other’s best interests. These are supposed to be the people who set the example for everyone else. They are supposed to lead, and to care for, and to love their fellow man. Why were they so afraid of this one man? What had he done to be able to put such fear into them? What were they afraid of losing? What were they afraid he would reveal if he stuck around? How could this one man have attained so much power over them? As he went about his everyday life, they were going in circles trying to get him OUT!
When you stop and think about it, it is unfathomable to try and understand how people could have such hatred for just one person—a man who did not have them in his audience.
Then his time came to an abrupt end, and they were finally able to get rid of him, but even in his last days, they couldn’t help themselves. They had to continue to ridicule him, and make up lies about him. They wanted TO CRUCIFY HIM. And they wouldn’t stop until they destroyed him and those who were following him!
I love this man! I love everything about him. I don’t understand everything he talked about while he was around. Nevertheless, I will follow him, and I am ready to act and do what he calls me to do.
I have learned one thing from all of this: the Pharisees and the Sadducees hated Jesus. They couldn’t have someone around with that much power; this someone took the spotlight away from them, and he spoke the truth to the people. These leaders needed all of the glory, all of the status, and all of the power. Driven by a greed for power, they were relentless. Now this one man was showing others a different way, a better way. He was exposing the lies, deceit, and corruption, and they wouldn’t stand for it.
How we decide to treat our fellow man is a direct reflection of us as individuals and society as a whole. If we are going to follow in Christ’s footsteps, and of course we are called to do so, we must see every other human being as a child of God and treat them accordingly, as Jesus would. Sadly, we don’t always do this. Why we don’t do this is a question that we have been asking ourselves since the beginning of mankind. Is it pride, or greed, or selfishness? Is it our ego, or bitterness, or self-loathing? Whatever it is, we need to take a hard look inwardly. Into our hearts and souls, and then ask ourselves how we would like to be treated, and start treating others the same.
I will leave you with this, one of the most-read pieces of scripture on how to treat our fellow human beings.
Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders and said this in Mark 12:30-31:
“’ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this:’ Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”