The Enemies of Jesus
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The Enemies of Jesus
By Dr. Carol J Miller
Copy the text from Psalms (at the end of this sermon) onto cardstock or colored construction paper. You might want to stick a piece of magnet on the back. Give one to each child before they return to their seats.
This is the hardest part of the Bible for us to read in church. The words aren’t too big—we know all the words; it isn’t hard that way. It’s hard because so many sad and bad things are being done to Jesus in these verses. It makes us sad when we read about them. That’s what’s hard. But we have to read them, because God is going to do something about what is happening and we don’t want to miss it.
Remember that in the city of Jerusalem there were enemies of Jesus—people who were jealous of Jesus because everyone loved to listen to him tell about God. Jesus’ enemies couldn’t get the people to listen to them as they used to do. The folks just wanted to listen to Jesus. Jesus told people–poor people, sick people, bad people—that God loved them no matter what they had done. He said God wanted to be close to them. Jesus’ enemies told the people that God was mad at them and would only stop being mad if the people kept all the rules that Jesus’ enemies told them about. But the people weren’t listening to them anymore. They were listening to Jesus.
So, finally, Jesus’ enemies got together to make a plan to get Jesus killed. The readings today tell the story of how they got him arrested, held a fake trial, got the governor to say that Jesus had done bad things when the governor knew that Jesus had not done anything wrong. They argued with the governor until they got him to agree to kill Jesus. It is a mean story about people who would do anything to keep their own power over others.
Now I’m going to say a surprising thing. I don’t think these were bad people. I don’t think they started out wanting to do wrong things. Do people ever ask you what you want to be when you grow up? What do you tell them? [Accept all answers].
Do you ever say you want to be a thief? A bank robber? No? Well, I don’t think Jesus’ enemies would have said anything like that when they were kids, either. I think that Jesus’ enemies started out wanting to help the people, wanting to do what God wanted them to do.
What do you think might have happened to make them mean; to make them jealous of Jesus? [Accept all answers].
Here’s what I think: I think that along the way, these people who would become Jesus’ enemies, forgot about what God wanted. They worked hard and got good jobs, and had people who worked for them maybe. Perhaps they got so wrapped up in what they were doing they just forgot what God wanted. Maybe they liked feeling in control, being the leader, having power. Maybe that became the most important thing for them. So when Jesus came along, they did not see God’s love working in him. They saw someone who might take away their power. It made them afraid. It made them jealous.
These people did terrible things. But not because they were a special kind of people who just started out bad. They got lost along the way; they forgot about God. When we forget about God we can all do some pretty mean things.
Here is a Scripture verse for you to put on the refrigerator. It says
“I will remember God’s deeds;
for I will remember your wonders of old.”
It is a promise always to remember God.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2012, Richard Niell Donovan