Good Friday. In mainstream, American culture, this may be the only day of the Easter Season (Lent) that’s widely associated with Jesus. That’s because schools and businesses are closed for religious observance of the day. On Good Friday, we remember Christ’s betrayal, trial and death. The same people who had praised His entrance into Jerusalem called for His death a week later. It’s difficult to imagine such a shift among these people, but it’s actually more relatable than it seems.
The Roman Empire was one of the most oppressive governments in history, and God promised that the Messiah would bring freedom. Therefore, Jewish people expected The Messiah to activate political change, not spiritual change. People saw Jesus as someone who would destroy the Roman government, relieving them of their oppression. As a result, they were looking for someone to free them from their current situation and bring justice to God’s chosen people.
Judas strongly held these beliefs as well. There are other speculations regarding Judas’ beliefs about Jesus that led him to betrayal, but they all have one thing in common; Jesus was not who Judas expected him to be. This still happens to people today. Jesus is so complex that often people grasp onto one facet of His character and exaggerate it to the point where it contradicts His message. For example, Jesus promised freedom and healing, so instead of hearing Him say, “Take up your cross and follow me” they assumed that He was going to make everything in life easier. Trusting in Jesus means that we cannot be offended when He does or says something we don’t understand.
An incredible example of total trust in Jesus is found in John 9:1-41. Jesus heals a man born blind. There’s an uproar in the community and the synagogue. The Pharisees put the man on trial for his healing. No matter the accusations, the man holds to his testimony, “One thing I do know; I was blind, and now I see!”
The man even goes as far as to ask the Pharisees to follow Jesus. The Pharisees explode in anger, saying, “We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow (Jesus), we don’t even know where he comes from!” The man replies with what is one of the most simple and profound statements of trust and belief in Christ: “That is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.” To this man, Jesus was the Christ, and whatever that looked like was the truth of God’s nature.
How do you see Jesus? Is He a well of good health and wealth that can be tapped into at any time? Is He a moral compass? Is He a label? Is He someone to talk about at youth group? Take some time in prayer to examine your heart and see if you have any misconceptions of Christ. One way to do this is read through the Book of John. The Book of John provides an in-depth, personal view of Jesus Christ. Peace be with you and may Jesus open your eyes to His deep and amazing character.