But Jesus’ message is different
Matthew 28:16-20 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Hebrews 10:24 Let us think of ways to motivate each other to love and good works.
The contrast between the message the guards were ordered to spread by the Jewish leaders and the message Jesus told his disciples to teach could not be more different:
The premise of the Jewish leaders: If we lie convincingly enough, we can get away with murder. Jesus’ premise: God loves you so much I was willing to lay down my life for you.
The intent of the Jewish message: to save their own skin. Jesus’ intent: to save the world.
The authority on which the orders of the Jewish leaders were based: human distortion of biblical teaching (Matthew 23:23 “You ignore the more important aspects of the law: justice, mercy, and faith”). Jesus’ authority: given him by his Father, the Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign over heaven and earth.
The heart of the Jewish message: “Maintain the status quo with us in charge.” The heart of Jesus’ message: Love God and others (Matthew 22:37-39); lay down your own life to serve others (Matthew 20:28).
Radical love. Radical service.
What does that mean to you today? I’m on a retreat with a group of lovely and strong-minded people. Many opportunities to recognize ways I’m more like the Jewish leaders than like Jesus, and to realize how generous Jesus’ love is (even for me!). Opportunities to grow!